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Kimball Castle on new 'Seven to Save' list

GILFORD — The N.H. Preservation Alliance has included Kimball Castle in its annual "seven to save" list, meaning the board has determined it is one of seven most endangered historical and architectural buildings in the state.

The castle, which is privately owned but is subject to the provisions of a trust managed by the Gilford Selectboard, lies in near ruins on Lockes Hill, overlooking Lake Winnipesaukee.

"It has become a cause celebre as the town considers a request for demolition of a privately held property that was supposed to have been rehabilitated long ago," read the media release sent out yesterday by the Preservation Alliance.

The castle has become one of the hot topics in Gilford after the town's code enforcement officer determined that it is unsafe and should either be demolished or enclosed by a fence.

Built in 1899 by railroad magnate Benjamin Kimball as his summer home, the castle had spectacular views of Lake Winnipesaukee and continues to be a landmark that can be seen from the "Broads" section of the lake.

Kimball's daughter-in-law Charlotte created a trust for the property on the grounds that it be used for wildlife observation and for hiking trails. According to legend, she also left about $400,000 for the management and upkeep of the castle and its environs.

The money disappeared and in the early 1980s the N.H. Attorney General Office offered the land to the town for its preservation. The town was never able to raise the money for the castle upkeep.

In 1999, the town carved out a 25-acre lot that included the decaying castle and sold the property to a company that wanted to renovate it an make it into an inn and restaurant.

One of the partners in the company, David Jodoin, ended up with the property after plans for the renovation failed.

In the interim, the castle continued to go downhill, portions of the roof collapsed, and vandals and trespassers wreaked their own havoc upon the now 100-year-old structure.

The town building inspector ordered Jodoin to address the situation, giving him a May deadline.

Jodoin drafted a petition for changes in the trust that would need allow him to rezone the property for single-family use that would allow him to demolish the castle and sell the 25-acre lot to another.

Because the selectmen are the trustees of the entire piece of property, they must be the ones that petition the Belknap County Superior Court for any changes to the trust.

After listening to residents at a public hearing speak overwhelmingly against the destruction of the castle and other provisions of the suggested petition, Selectmen voted not to recommend the petition as drafted and the petition will appear on the town ballot March as a warrant article.

Selectmen extended the demolition order until after the 2014 annual town meeting.

By naming Kimball Castle as one of the seven to save, it gives proposed demolition a bigger audience and can help with any fund-raising efforts to save it.

Carol Anderson is listed by the N.H. Preservation Alliance as the contact person. She can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Last Updated on Saturday, 01 February 2014 12:38

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Laconia candidates at forum Thursday night

LACONIA — Municipal candidates on the ballot in the November 5 general election will answer questions at a Thursday night forum hosted by the Weirs Action Committee. The forum will be held at the Weirs Beach Community Center — adjacent to the Weirs Beach Fire Station, starting at 7 p.m.

The forum will be moderated by former city councilor and long-time radio talk show host Neil Young. Young stressed that although the meeting is sponsored by the Weirs Action Committee, candidates in all city wards have been invited to participate and residents of all parts of the city are encouraged to attend and learn more about them.

Young said he will ask a series of questions of the candidates to get things started and then will open the floor for questions from the audience.

 

 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 October 2013 03:05

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Bandit hits Dunkin' Donuts at mall

BELMONT — Police are investigating an armed robbery that occurred at 9:23 p.m. Monday night at the Dunkin' Donuts store on Route 3, in front of the Belknap Mall.

The two employees working at the time said a male subject wearing a face covering, a hooded sweatshirt, gloves, and carrying a large knife entered the store and demanded cash.

Neither employee was injured.

Employees told police the man fled on foot.

A Gilford K-9 and handler, Laconia and Tilton Police assisted Belmont Police who searched the area. The dog was unable to pick up a scent.

Anyone with any information about the crime is asked to call the Belmont Police at 257-8351 and ask to speak to Detective Raechel Moulton or Sgt. Adam Hawkins.

This is the second robbery along Route 3 in as many days. Laconia Police continue to investigate the unarmed robbery of the Premium Mart on Court Street.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 October 2013 03:03

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Belmont selectmen unhappy that casino owes$235,000 in back taxes

BELMONT — Selectmen learned Monday night that the Lakes Region Casino owes about $235,000 in back property taxes to the town after falling behind on the agreement that was struck in April of 2012.

Town Administrator Jeanne Beaudin said $97,289 is subject to tax-deeding, meaning that the town can place a lien on the property. According to N.H. law, a tax bill must be two years and one day late before it is subject to a deeding.

"I don't want to push them out but they made a deal," said Selectman Jon Pike. "I don't believe they've showed good faith."

The deal about which Pike spoke was made by the three selectmen and and the owners of Potts Gaming, LLC. Former Casino Manager Rick Newman represented Potts Gaming at the meeting when the deal was struck.

In April of 2012, which was shortly after Potts Gaming bought the former Lakes Region Greyhound Park when the bank foreclosed on the loan previously held by Torguson Gaming Group.

Potts Gaming and the Board of Selectmen agreed that the business would pay $3,000 weekly toward the $185,781 in back taxes in exchange for the board waiving $25,400 of accrued interest and fees.

Beaudin said Potts Gaming has not made a tax payment to the town since the end of March of 2013. She said she contacted the General Manager Ryan Gloddy who said the casino would start making payments on December 1.

"It's unacceptable," said Pike, telling Beaudin to send a letter to Potts Gaming LLC. "I want those payments to resume."

Pike and Selectman Ruth Mooney both said that it was Potts Gaming who made the deal with the town and it was their responsibility to make the payments as agreed. Neither felt it was appropriate for the company to dictate the terms of when they would resume paying the taxes.

Selectman Ruth Mooney also said she was a little disappointed to learn this week that the Casino was behind on its agreement since it had been almost seven months since it made a payment.

Other than agreeing that Potts Gaming should have kept up their end of the bargain, Selectman's Chair Ron Cormier recused himself from the discussion saying his son participates in one of the youth hockey programs that uses the Lakes Region Casino as a fundraiser.

The Daily Sun was unable to reach Lakes Region Casino Manager Ryan Gloddy yesterday.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 October 2013 03:00

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