To complete the survey online, go here: www.surveymonkey.com/r/Nichewaug

The Nichewaug Inn & Academy Committee 2020 was formed by the Petersham Selectboard in December, 2019. Its mission is to work towards a community plan to identify future use(s) of the Nichewaug Inn and Maria Assumpta Academy property.  The committee is currently working with the Montachusett Regional Planning Commission through a grant awarded to the town. One of the tasks in the planning services grant is to conduct a town-wide survey to identify residents' preferences, thoughts, concerns and questions regarding the property. All adult members of a household are encouraged to complete the survey.  If you need additional copies, please contact the town office at (978)724-3353.  The town’s website (TownOfPetersham.org) contains much information about the property. The following are some facts about the property:
  • Town Meeting approved acceptance of the property as a gift in 2007, in part to have more control over its fate.
  • The prominent property in the center of town (25 Common Street) faces the NW portion of the Town Common and contains 6.6 largely level acres located partially in the Petersham Common Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places.
  • The property is close to Harvard Forest and The Trustees conservation properties and is within an easy walk to most critical town services.
  • The structure is 100,000 square feet, with two connected but dividable buildings, the original shingled Inn portion on the front and the more recent brick-clad Academy portion on the back.
  • There are 17 abutters within 300 feet of the property.
  • The property has been vacant since 1985, is unheated, the electricity and water have been shut off, and minimal maintenance has been done since 1985.
  • The upper floors of the Inn section contain numerous bedrooms while the Academy Wing has a number of large classrooms and several dormitory rooms.
  • There is a well that had produced 10,000 gallons of water per day.  If any well were to be made operational, current state water supply regulations would have to be met or waived for it to be used as a public water supply.
  • There is a high water-table especially under the Kitchen and Auditorium Wings which was mitigated in the past with a sump pump system.
  • There are septic solutions that may be acceptable under MA Department of Environmental Protection Regulations depending on the repurposed use of the property.
  • Removal of all hazardous materials from the building has been completed since town ownership.  The town appropriated $584,000 for the last removals at a Special Town Meeting in the Fall of 2016.
  • The buildings on the property are no longer covered by the town's liability insurance.
  • The 2004 Town Master Plan cites the number one goal as preserving the historic character of the town. The Plan can be found on the town website under Documents in the Town Business tab.
  • The property could fill possible community needs (e.g., recreation, senior housing, moderate income housing, assisted living facility, community/senior center, town offices, etc.).
  • Two Requests for Proposals were issued within the past five years to attract developers and/or investors with no successful responses.
  • Over the last 10 years demolition of the building has been proposed at several Town Meetings and has at times received majority approval but has not received the necessary funding.
  • The Petersham town website has selected reports and public information that reflect some of the work of the town and many residents on the Nichewaug property over the years. These include the 2016 Final Market and Feasibility Analysis prepared for the town by Concord Square Planning & Development (called the Ted Carman Report).

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* 1. If you are completing this survey online, please enter the number from the upper right corner of the first page of the survey mailed to you.  None of the questions allow us to track individuals or households.  Questions 1-3 are to determine whether returned surveys are from a representative sample of town residents.

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* 2. What is your age?  Remember that we cannot track you, but questions 1-3 will help us analyze survey results.  Please choose one.

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* 3. How long have you been a resident of Petersham? (choose one)

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Please use the figure below to answer questions on the following pages.

Please use the figure below to answer questions on the following pages.

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* 4. If a structural evaluation provided evidence that certain parts of the Nichewaug Inn and Academy Buildings were able to be repurposed, which parts of the property would you support repurposing?

  Strongly support Somewhat support No opinion Somewhat against Strongly against
Repurpose all buildings on the property
Repurpose the Original Historic Inn
Repurpose the New Academy Building
Repurpose the Auditorium Wing
Repurpose the Kitchen Wing
Repurpose the Chapel/Music Room
Repurpose the Dining Room Wing
Repurpose the Inn Addition
Keep/repurpose original stone features such as fireplaces, portico, and front terrace wall of the Inn
Demolish all of the Inn and Academy structures

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* 5. Based on your answers to Question 4, which of the following uses would you support for the property that would be beneficial to the people of Petersham?

  Strongly support Somewhat support No opinion Somewhat against Strongly against
Town offices 
Senior/Community Center
Public Safety Complex (Police/Fire/EMS)
Outdoor recreation (e.g. tennis, lawn games, ice skating, community gardens, outdoor movies, etc.)
Individual house lots
Senior housing
Mixed income housing
Cohousing
Independent/Assisted living facility
Mixed uses: housing and small service businesses (i.e. social/elder services, healthcare, small business incubator/services, education facilities, etc.)
Performing Arts/Artist/Musician live/work/education space

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* 6. How many housing units would you support if housing is an element of the repurposed site?

  Strongly support Somewhat support No opinion Somewhat against Strongly against
1-6 housing units
7-12 housing units
13-20 housing units
21-30 housing units
31-50 housing units
51+ housing units

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* 7. What approaches for financing would you support in the repurposing of the property?

  Strongly support Somewhat support No opinion Somewhat against Strongly against
All town financed
Developer financed
Pre-sale of housing units
Use the potential value of the property as a match for loans and/or grants
Developer financed, with town forgiving some or all of the potential value of the property.
Partially town financed with non-profit, investor, and/or developer providing balance
Charitable donations and/or private investment for reuse
Town partnering with a Community Development Corporation

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* 8. More information about the Nichewaug Property can be found on the town's website (TownOfPetersham.org) under Nichewaug Property in the Town Business tab.  In addition, there are demographic statistics on the Nichewaug Property page citing current statistics on population, income, and real estate costs in Petersham.

The Nichewaug Inn and Academy Committee 2020 plans to hold a Public Information Session in the Fall of 2020 to discuss the results of this survey and welcomes the residents of the town to further participate in this process.  You can also participate in open public meetings of the Committee by checking at MyTownGovernment.org or by calling the town office at (978)724-3353.

If you have any additional comments or questions about the future of the Nichewaug property, current events related to the Nichewaug property or other concerns, please enter them below.

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