Vote on Stratford's Historic 'White House' Tonight

Town Council also expected to vote on an amendment concerning abandoned vehicles.

The Stratford Town Council tonight is expected to vote on an ordinance that designates the John Benjamin House as a "local historic property."

Also known as the "White House," the Greek Rivival building, circa 1840, sits at the entrance to the Shakespeare Theatre on Elm Street.

"There is an urgent need to protect the value and use of property in said and on historic properties," the ordinance reads.

Supporters of the designation say it will give the building a label that opens it up to more state and federal funding through preservation grants, which can help pay for repairs and renovations.

Proponents say the defunct building can be transformed into a not-for-profit center for the arts, which can display Shakespeare Theatre archives such as those recently at the .

Last November, Town Council members on the designation. Approval of the proposed ordinance on tonight's agenda will make it law.

At the Ordinance Committee's meeting last week, Council Chairman Joseph Kubic (R-9) was the only member to vote against the recommendation to add the mansion to the town's list of historic properties.

The Town Council and the Ordinance Committee share the same membership.

A public forum at 6:45 p.m. precedes tonight's 8 p.m. Council meeting at .

Also on the agenda is a proposed amendment to the town's towing policy on abandoned vehicles and a resolution on the reconstruction of West Broad Street from Linden Ave to California Street.

Get live updates from tonight's meeting by following Stratford Patch on Twitter.

Rockannand July 09, 2012 at 11:42 AM
We expect a unanimous vote in favor tonight. Many, many people to thank for making this designation come true. But none more so than 3rd district Councilman Matt Catalano. Matt's tireless efforts over the past few years to save the White House from blight and neglect and make the much needed repairs in process and restoration process a reality. Thank you Matt.
Kevin Weiss July 09, 2012 at 12:40 PM
Mr Catalano is all what is right with Stratford. Thank you sir!
George E. Mulligan July 09, 2012 at 01:53 PM
Matt Catalano, Ed Goodrich, and others are to be commended on Shakespeare Theater volunteer work. However I always believed there has been a timetable since 1987 for Economic Development of Stratford, Bridgeport, and the Valley. I believe the Shakespeare Theater has always been part of that expanding plan, where I believe the entire Stratford Coast Line is desired by developers, who will work with Pleasure Beach, Long Beach West, AVCO, Airport expanded, Development Center + Ashcroft/P W/Frog pond, massive development of North End condos and Apartments, and housing projects in central and west Stratford. Historic District & Shakespeare Theater will get deserved opportunities, because that's what the plan desires, connection to the "MOTHER COUNTRY." > SHAKESPEARE 5 PHASE PLAN is 3/5th finished, and will be intimate to the Directions of Mayor Burturla or others in waiting. Most of the volunteers are decent & legit believers in what I consider to be worthwhile objectives. Blogger Rock is a vicious come lately compared to Ed Goodrich & to a far lesser degree myself, who has written, spoke, blogged, & helped with Publicity or other support for a decade. Never been my primary issue. Rock is a hijacker. Goodrich, Catalano, and volunteer people working at Theater deserve ALL of the CREDIT they are getting now! They do deserve praise for doing good.
Frank Stirna July 09, 2012 at 05:16 PM
Congratulations are in order, now instead of renovations and turning it into something we can use, the town should have to do a historic restoration. There are funds available from the State Historic Restoration Fund but it's a reimbursement up to 200,000 town pays up front and if the state agrees with how the restoration was done they give you the money key word there is if, I hope that isn't the money we were led to believe is available. 5 or 6 years ago there were more grants available now most of the state grant offices are closed, no money, don't believe me? try calling them. Maybe our congressional representatives can get the town federal funds, that is possible I guess, but, I'd personally rather see money like that spent acquired and spent on the theatre. Simply declaring the House an important town historic site (which it is declaration/designation or not) doesn't automatically guarantee funds to restore it. The only real recent progress in maintaining the house came from Mayor Harkins office, with securing the funds to repair the foundation and roof, thank you Mayor Harkins.
George E. Mulligan July 09, 2012 at 10:24 PM
Harkins is an embarasment as well as MANY in both Town Committees & Political/Government.
Pam July 09, 2012 at 11:54 PM
Vote YES for the designation of "local historic property"! We have the vision. Now, get a good volunteer grant writer and fund raising team. With passion we can make it work. Look at what the designation has done to the Wm. Perry House. We serve as an educational center enriching the cirriculum for over 1100 Stratford children a year. And we are 99% volunteers...very passionate volunteers. The "White House" can serve as an enrichment to the town also. Give it a chance!!!
Jason Bagley (Editor) July 10, 2012 at 02:15 AM
Town council approved with a unanimous vote designating the 'White House' as a 'local historic property.' Full story to come.
Jim Ravis July 10, 2012 at 02:34 AM


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