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Letter: AWHS Clarifies Darling House Agreement

The First Selectwoman of Woodbridge has recently been issuing statements to the effect that the Town and the Amity and Woodbridge Historical Society (AWHS) are working on a new long-term Agreement for the management and use of the historic Thomas Darling House site, the foundation of a “better and stronger” relationship, and that “we are very close to an agreement”.

We regret to report that this is not true.

Working with AWHS approval, a draft Agreement had been prepared for BOS discussion by the Town Attorney, the First Selectwoman, and a representative of the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO).  Then, in Executive Sessions – not collaboratively with the AWHS or SHPO or even in public – the Board of Selectmen discussed and made changes to this document that were not, as described by the First Selectwoman, “a few edits”.  In fact, the changes are so radical that they have transformed it from an Agreement to a Contract of Adhesion:  a type of document written to impose requirements and limit rights, such as when you buy insurance.

The draft sent to us is rife with inconsistencies and errors of fact, and these alone would require a lot of work to resolve.  More significantly, the proposal seeks to slice and dice up the Thomas Darling complex, removing the AWHS as the Town’s Agent and doling out responsibilities (sometimes overlapping) to multiple entities.

The AWHS cannot approve this because it violates our mission to preserve and protect the site and it severely restricts or prevents our ability to provide services to the public and secure grant funding.  Our objective has always been to continue to be able to serve the Town as we have for over 45 years.  We hardly recognize the new draft; it is so far from that goal in character and detail.

For more background, detailed information, and updates, please see our website, www.woodbridgehistory.org, or Facebook pages.

Sincerely,

AWHS Board of Directors

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