The Town of Stoneham and the Stoneham Historical Commission have been awarded a matching grant from the Massachusetts Historical Commission (MHC) to fund a community-wide Preservation Plan. Stoneham has not had a plan previously.
The plan will be the foundation of a multi-phased approach. The first step will be the community-wide preservation plan and the second an updated historic/cultural asset survey and prioritization plan. Later stages would inventory key local cultural and historic resources, especially those eligible for the National Register of Historic Places, in line with priorities in the current State Historic Preservation Plan.
Stoneham conducted a large-scale survey of historic properties shortly after the Historical Commission was formed in 1977, but there have been no other survey projects in the intervening 45 years.
The Stoneham Historical Commission (SHC) is concerned with the increasing pace of losses to the historic landscape due to development pressures resulting from the shortage of affordable and middle-income housing. Since 2017, more than 25 single family homes have been demolished, and the majority replaced with a higher-priced single-family home. Commercial buildings such as the Diary Dome, which was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, have also been demolished. Stoneham has an imperative to balance the need for preservation with the need for future growth. The Preservation Plan will set priorities for the town regarding preservation and give strategies to help address issues.
The town is formalizing an agreement with MHC and will be advertising for a consultant to build the plan later in the spring of 2023.
We will post more information as the process continues.