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Boston — The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) today issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the rehabilitation, reuse, and maintenance of the 1903 Superintendent’s House at Mount Wachusett State Reservation in Princeton, Massachusetts. Through a mutually beneficial program with private individuals or groups, the DCR’s Historic Curatorship Program is able to rehabilitate, manage, and maintain historic properties in return a long-term lease. An open house will be held Saturday, November 18, 2017 from 10:00AM to 1:00PM, and interested parties have until Friday, January 5, 2018 before 3:00PM to respond. Additional information on the Historic Curatorship Program is available on DCR’s website.
“Conserving and protecting historic and cultural resources located throughout the Massachusetts state parks system remains a critical part of the Department of Conservation and Recreation’s core mission,” said DCR Commissioner Leo Roy. “The Baker-Polito Administration remains committed to programs like the Department’s Historic Curatorship Program to ensure invaluable properties, such as Mount Wachusett State Reservation’s 1903 Superintendent’s House, is preserved for future generations.”
The Superintendent’s House (also known as the Vickery House) at Mount Wachusett State Reservation is one of the first substantial buildings built by the fledgling state park system in 1903. The two-story, four-bedroom Dutch Colonial Shingle style house was built as the residence and offices of the first Superintendent for the Reservation, Guy Chase. Recent improvements to the building have addressed structural issues throughout the house, asbestos removal, and exterior scraping and priming. However, the building still needs substantial rehabilitation, including work on interior finishes, windows, and all systems, including electric, plumbing and heating.
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 to 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).
To qualify for a partnership, interested parties must commit to using the property in a manner compatible with its history, local community, and surrounding parklands. Curators are selected based on a number of criteria, including the proposal’s overall quality, the individual’s experience in restoration and historic preservation, financial resources, and how public benefits will be incorporated. Under HCP guidelines, all partnerships require that properties are open to the public at least twice per calendar year. The RFP released today outlines 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 have been leveraged toward the preservation of twenty-three 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.