For Immediate Release - June 15, 2017

DCR Seeks Curator for Historic Gatehouse at Cochituate State Park

BOSTON – The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) today announced that it is issuing a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the rehabilitation, reuse, and maintenance of the 1848 Gatehouse at Cochituate State Park in the Town of Wayland. Through DCR’s Historic Curatorship Program, private citizens, non-profits, companies, and other entities rehabilitate, manage, and maintain historic properties in return for credit toward a long-term lease.

“The Department of Conservation and Recreation’s Historic Curatorship Program serves as an excellent example of the great work that can be accomplished when state government joins with private entities to achieve shared objectives,” said DCR Commissioner Leo Roy. “The Baker-Polito Administration remains committed to public-private partnerships that will not only benefit today’s citizenry, but future generations, such as by preserving historically significant properties like Cochituate State Park’s Gatehouse.”

The Gatehouse near Lake Cochituate served a significant role as the starting point for Boston’s revolutionary water supply system. Built between 1846-1848, the granite building was the intake for the city’s waterworks, which supplied water from Lake Cochituate via the Cochituate Aqueduct to the city of Boston. It was abandoned in 1947 as the Quabbin Reservoir replaced earlier water sources for Boston and the surrounding towns. The building and land were then transferred to the state parks system, and shortly thereafter, Cochituate State Park was founded. Additionally, the one room building contains approximately 600 feet of useable space, and is anticipated to be a seasonal opportunity, since adding infrastructure necessary for high capacity reuses would have an adverse impact on the building’s historic character. 

Under DCR’s Historic Curatorship Program, curators are selected through an open and competitive process. The program has resulted in very successful partnerships across the state that represent a diverse range of building types and reuses, including residential farmhouses, a mountaintop restaurant and inn (Bascom Lodge at Mt. Greylock State Reservation), a premier events facility (Willowdale Estate at Bradley Palmer State Park), a restored house museum (Crosby Mansion, Nickerson State Park), and artist live-work lofts (Baker Administration Building, Dorchester).

The program requires that the property is used in a way that is compatible with the park and the surrounding community. The open and competitive selection process of curators is based on a number of criteria, including the overall quality of the proposal, experience in restoration and historic preservation, financial resources, and the proposed incorporation of public benefits. Curators must provide public access to the property at least two times a year. The RFP provides information on the property and the Historic Curatorship Program, outlines the response requirements, describes DCR’s criteria for evaluating proposals for selection, and provides conditions assessments, cost estimates and other background material to assist in the preparation of a proposal.

Since the DCR’s Historic Curatorship Program’s inception in 1994, over $21 million in private funds has been leveraged toward the preservation of twenty-two of the state’s unused but historically significant properties. The program has become a national model, inspiring other government entities to add this innovative public-private partnership to their preservation toolbox.

The deadline for responses for the 1848 Gatehouse at Cochituate State Park is Thursday, August 10, 2017. An open house for interested parties to assess the interior of the building is tentatively scheduled for Saturday, July 8, 2017, from 9:00AM-12:00PM. Furthermore, interested parties can find the application documents and additional information on the DCR’s Historic Curatorship Program webpage.

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The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), an agency of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, oversees 450,000 acres of parks and forests, beaches, bike trails, watersheds, dams, and parkways. Led by Commissioner Leo Roy, the agency’s mission is to protect, promote, and enhance our common wealth of natural, cultural, and recreational resources. To learn more about DCR, our facilities, and our programs, please visit www.mass.gov/dcr. Contact us at mass.parks@state.ma.us.

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