Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Village Green approved by planning board - by Elizabeth Richards

The Windham Historical Society is one step closer to their goal of creating the Village Green living history park after obtaining Planning Board approval for the project on Monday evening. 
Twenty members and supporters of the historical society attended the meeting, and applauded the unanimous vote to approve the plan. The decision comes after several years of negotiations, said Linda Griffin, president of the historical society. One of the challenges was to obtain a right of way from RSU14 so that the entrance to the park could come off Windham Center Road rather than busy Route 202. 

Engineer Jon Whitten of Teradign Engineering has led the historical society through the process, which is similar to planning a subdivision, said Griffin. He presented the final plan at the meeting, complete with a large color map. 

Now that the plan has approval, the hard work of fundraising for the project begins in earnest. “Everything is going to cost money,” Griffin said. “As soon as we can raise funds we’ll move buildings on and put them on foundations and do sidewalks and do parking lots.” How long that will take is unknown at this point. The project will be expensive, said Griffin, and the goals include building an addition onto the meeting house eventually. 

Griffin said the historical society hopes that the townspeople will get involved and participate in their upcoming activities, which include a large plant sale at Windham High School on Memorial Day weekend, as well as a civil war encampment that same weekend. That encampment will give people a chance to see where Village Green will be, said Griffin. A full slate of activities is planned with programs every hour on life as a soldier during the Civil War.

Griffin said the Village Green will be a smaller scale Sturbridge Village or Willowbrook, offering great opportunities for the local school children to learn history. “We’re hoping we are going to put Windham on the map, and we’ll put the center back in Windham again,” she said. 

The Village Green will be on Windham Center Road, which was Main Street many years ago. It will be recreated to depict Windham in the late 1800s, just after the Civil War, said Griffin.

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