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Malta historic landmark could be razed

Since Roberts believes that roughly 50 percent of the house's materials are not consistent with original architecture or building practices, demolishing the home should not pose a risk to the surrounding historic district. He said that he would be willing to preserve whatever building materials he could salvage from the demolition and incorporate it into future construction efforts on the property.

"Maybe a front floor was original with square nails but it has also sustained a lot of water damage and mold on that. Some other items could maybe be salvaged like a staircase, one or two doors, certainly the front of the building might be able to be salvaged, the doorway, and I'd be willing to do that," said Roberts.

Christina Connolly owns a business at 123 Dunning St., directly next door to 127 Dunning St. and is in favor of demolishing the structure.

"[127] is an eyesore, safety issue and health hazard in the core of downtown. The district is not historic. Trying to run a small business next door is frustrating and sad. We're compared to and thought of as those old houses falling down, rundown and abandoned," said Connolly.

Roberts said that since he has been so forthcoming during the certificate of appropriateness process and complied with whatever the commission requested, he should be able to move ahead with the demolition if he agrees to salvage what historical remnants he can. Stephen Rutkey, chairman of the Historic Preservation Review Commission, had a starkly different opinion.

"I agree that the applicant has been forthcoming, accommodating and done a professional job. My only regret is that among all the effort made, none that I'm aware of has been toward attempting to save the house. Nowhere did our Town engineer conclude that the building is a safety hazard and should be immediately demolished, so I don't understand why come effort can't be made to save the building and retain its historical value," said Rutkey.

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