At a Nov. 1 Town Meeting, residents voted in favor of selling the Mill District School at 112 Glenwood Road to neighbors for a cost of $90,000.
The official tally for the vote was 24 for and 11 against. The new owners of the property are Peter and Susan Gaeta, who have lived next door to the property for 30 years.
“We’re very happy to get it,” said Peter Gaeta after the vote was read. “For us, we didn’t want it to change.”
At the public hearing that immediately preceded the vote, the Gaeta family addressed the audience. The Gaetas said they became concerned when they heard the town was going to sell the property, as they enjoyed living next to a peaceful property. Peter Gaeta stressed that the family would “make no changes at all.”
“The last thing we want to tear it down,” Gaeta said. “It should last another 100 years.”
After the Gaetas spoke, a handful of people in the audience also spoke up. First Selectman Bruce Farmer started off the meeting by informing the audience that the family had been “good stewards” of the property for many years, and called the sale of the property to them a “rare opportunity for the town.”
At its regular monthly meeting in August, the Board of Finance (BOF) had voted not to authorize the sale at that time. At the Nov. 1 hearing, BOF member John Olsen reiterated reservations about the process he had first expressed at that August meeting. While stressing that he had no problems with the Gaetas, Olsen said he felt the property should have been put out to bid, which would have allowed other members of the public to bid if they were interested in the property.
“I felt the process was wrong,” Olsen said.
Jane Scully-Welch, also a member of the BOF, said she also thought the property “maybe should have gone to bid,” but also said “I think it’s in good hands.”
Some at the meeting expressed their appreciation for the historic value of the house.
Clinton Historical Society President David Bautz, said, “Speaking for the historical society, I would love to see the façade preserved.”
The Gaetas said they would preserve the façade, and Susan Gaeta said they had done some research into the original color of the house, so that it could be painted that color.
The Mill District School is a one-room school house that was built in 1882. It once served as offices for the Board of Education and Clinton Youth & Family Services, however it’s now vacant. As a condition of the sale, a 12-foot easement would be added to the project to allow the town access to conduct repairs and maintenance on a storm drain located on the property.