Freedom Town Office to Stay Put

Freedom—March 21, 2024—Freedom residents on Saturday voted 130 to 94 in support of a warrant article to refurbish the current Town Office on Schoolhouse Hill instead of constructing a new building outside the village.

The tally was five votes short of the three-fifths majority approval needed to begin the process, but Select Board Chair Les Babb told the Conway Daily Sun the vote “gave us clarity.”

Freedom’s former grade school has been the Town Office since 1983. Photo: Conway Daily Sun

Babb said a more detailed proposal to refurbish the building would be presented to voters next year.

A companion warrant article, asking if residents wanted to construct a new Town Office building on Route 153, garnered 52 votes in favor and 171 against. Both warrant articles carried the same $1.6 million price tag.

The Schoolhouse Hill building served as the town’s grade school from 1895 to 1983, at which time the school moved out and municipal services moved in. The building was listed in the state’s Registry of Historic Places in 2011.

The vote to keep the Town Office in the village is a victory for the Friends of Schoolhouse Hill, an ad hoc group of new and long-time residents that formed earlier this year.

The group argued that the building could be refurbished with a modern interior to meet the needs of town staff while retaining its historic exterior. They said the character of the town would be forever changed if the hub of community services moved out of the village.

Freedom has a successful track record in preserving the town’s character, including its purchase of a failed 2,661-acre housing development to create the Freedom Town Forest. A previous proposal to move the Town Office outside the village was rejected by voters in 2010.

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