East Lyme finance board appropriates funds for Samuel Smith house

East Lyme — The Board of Finance voted at a special meeting Thursday to appropriate $425,000 in funds to purchase the Samuel Smith House.
First Selectman Paul Formica presented the terms of the proposed purchase of the 17th century farmhouse on Plants Dam Road to the board, in which the Niantic Sportsmen’s Club would buy 9½ acres of the property for $125,000.
The town would then pay the remaining $300,000 for the purchase from its capital nonrecurring fund. Formica said the $300,000 for the purchase is available in the fund from savings on previous items the town had saved for.
The town would also apply for a historic preservation grant, due in October, which could cover up to half of the purchase price. The town would be notified of the grant results in January and purchase the house in March.
If purchased, the house would be maintained and operated by a nonprofit organization, Formica explained.
The town is interested in acquiring the property to both preserve the historic value of the house, which is largely unchanged by the passage of time, and because the house sits on 17 acres of pristine farmland and on 7 acres of an aquifer that feeds the town’s public water system.
The finance board ultimately resolved to use $425,000 in funds that would be reimbursed by money from the purchase of part of the property and any grant awards.
The matter will proceed to a public vote at a town meeting at 7 p.m. on Oct. 3.
— Kimberly Drelich

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