Chase Farm visitor center construction begins

Chase Farm visitor center construction begins

Joseph Hugh Barney, left, assists Nic Obachaun, right, as he measures the structure of the Chase Farm visitor center in Lincoln. The two work for P&R Construction based in Burrillville, one of the companies working on the project. (Breeze photo by Brittany Ballantyne)
Building expected to be finished this fall

LINCOLN – Historic Chase Farm, a space dotted with buildings and homes dating as far back as the 1850s, is making way for something new.

Behind the Hannaway Blacksmith Shop, crews have been constructing a visitor center, which is expected to be completed this fall.

The project was approved by taxpayers at the Financial Town Meeting in May and calls for restrooms and a common space inside the building as well as a pavilion patio area outside, where Town Engineer Leslie Quish says outdoor furniture including picnic tables will be placed.

The community room inside the center will be equipped with countertop space, cabinets and a sink, and Quish said this area can be rented for parties and events in town.

Allstate Builders Inc. was chosen to lead the project, Quish explained.

“We were really happy with the bid results,” she said, explaining that the initial design of the building did not have to be compromised to meet the town’s budget.

As part of the project, an old garage on the site was stripped, and doors and windows were salvaged, if the town wants to reuse them in the future, Quish said. That garage space will be revamped and used for town vehicles and equipment.

Funds were transferred from the town’s Capital Fund 50 account, and the project is not to exceed a cost of $100,000. A $400,000 grant was awarded to assist with construction expenses, bringing the total project’s approximated cost to $500,000.

Quish explained that a grand opening will likely be held next spring, if the center is not completed until late fall. She said the contractor has 120 days to substantially complete the project, and 150 days until final completion.

The center, she said, should be finished by the end of November, and will be equipped with utilities.

Town Administrator Joseph Almond’s long-term goal for the farm is to turn it into a “year-round center,” where community events can be hosted and schoolchildren can spend a full day outside.

There’s an opportunity, he said, for children to learn about Lincoln’s history and the environment at Chase Farm by visiting the blacksmith shop, Hot Potato School, Hearthside House, Moffett Mill and visitor center, as well as exploring the outdoor landscape at the farm.

Above is a rendering of the Chase Farm visitor center, which is currently under construction. The space can be rented out for various events, and includes an outdoor patio area.