CHESHIRE -- A town icon that has seen better days is soon to be no more.
Selectmen have awarded D. Condron Construction Inc. a $47,870 project to demolish the Cheshire Inn, built in the late 1700s, on Route 8.
"Once it's gone, I think, people will start to appreciate what a nice piece of property it is," Selectwoman Carol Francesconi said at the board's Tuesday meeting.
Despite having previously entertained marketing the plot to potential buyers and the opposite tack of maintaining the property for various town uses -- common space, a park, a winter skating rink -- officials agreed not to define a course of action at this time.
Long a hazard -- one has to wear a hard-hat merely to enter the decrepit, circa 1790s structure -- the priority now is just getting it down, Selectmen said. They propose to allot funds from free cash to cover the cost, and have scheduled a special town meeting for Feb. 12 at 7:30 p.m. at the Senior Center. Voting residents will have the ultimate say on where the money comes from.
According to officials, the project would begin immediately after an affirmative vote.
"We're not waiting until spring," Selectman Paul Astorino said. "It would happen right after town meeting."
The job includes demolition and full removal of the remains.
Highway Department Superintendent Peter Lefebvre said he plans to smooth over the site and provide the finishing touches afterward.
Some residents have speculated about potential valuables inside, but officials say if present, they're the contractor's to keep.
"It's all theirs: good, the bad and the ugly," Selectwoman Gloria Lewis said.
The old building has run the gamut in its history: once a posh site "for Cheshire's aristocracy," complete with an upstairs ballroom, to a barroom until recent decades, to the condemned property one sees now, taken by tax title in 2011 from former owner Peter Krutiak, who had designs of turning it into a night club. Since then, it's been nothing but a headache to officials, who made no pretenses Tuesday: They'll be glad to see it go.
Residents who attend the Feb. 12 special town meeting will also decide by ballot whether to allot an additional $5,500 to $6,500 to replace the furnace inside School Street's Senior Center.
Water Commissioner Patrick Klammer said the project would ultimately be a cost-saver, as the furnace is "old technology" and the building reportedly "costs a fortune to heat."
"It'll definitely save some fuel," Klammer said.
These funds, too, would come out of free cash, of which the town has roughly $410,000 in the bank.
To reach Phil Demers, email