By JOHN FLOWERS
SHOREHAM — There will be a major house move in Shoreham on Thursday.
No, we’re not talking about someone moving their possessions into or out of an existing home.
They’ll be moving the entire home — a 178-year-old, two-story farmhouse that will be trucked in two sections from the First National Bank of Orwell property off Route 22A to the Green Woods Village subdivision off School Street, a distance of around three-quarters of a mile.
Once trucked to Green Woods Village, each of the two sections of the home will be placed on its own new foundation and made ready for the two middle-income families that will occupy them.
“We certainly hated to see the house sitting there, unused,” said Brian Young, vice president of the First National Bank of Orwell, which is donating the structure. “This is the best possible use we could have come up with.”
The uninhabited farmhouse was a part of the roughly three-acre property on Route 22A the bank acquired back in 2004 as the site for its Shoreham branch. Officials had first considered renovating the home to host the bank, but determined the necessary work would be too extensive. They therefore built a new structure on the parcel, but were still left with the dilemma of how to put the farmhouse to use.
After determining the bank couldn’t rent out the home and deciding not to subdivide and sell the home as part of a separate lot, Young and his colleagues offered it to the Addison County Community Trust (ACCT). The offer came with an important caveat.
“They said they would like us to move it,” ACCT Executive Director Terry McKnight recalled.
The ACCT explored that scenario and obtained a loan — through the First National Bank of Orwell — to pay for moving the two sections of the house to Green Woods Village. The loan will also pay associated construction costs, site work and equipping the two abodes with energy efficient appliances, fixtures, new plumbing and heating systems.
Taking the lead in moving the homes, refurbishing them and settling them onto their new foundations will be Shoreham-based Jeremiah Beach Parker Restoration and Construction Management.
Jeremiah Parker’s work crews have been readying the home for its first and only voyage, one that is scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. on Dec. 11, and is likely to briefly disrupt traffic on Route 22A.
“These (home sections) are wider than the road bed,” said Parker, who anticipates the movers will be off the road within around 30 minutes.
He added some folks in the vicinity of the move could experience a brief power outage, as the home is large enough to require coordination with Central Vermont Public Service Corp. in temporarily moving wires.
Still, Parker anticipates a smooth move, one that will result in the salvaging of an unused, history-filled home for the benefit of two families.
“This is green building at its best,” Parker said.
One of the homes will be 1,432 square feet in size and have three bedrooms; the other will have 904 square feet of living space, with two bedrooms. Both homes will be outfitted with new insulation and metal roofs.
“We have already sold one of the homes and are in serious negotiations with the other,” McKnight said.
Thanks to grants and low-interest loans, the ACCT is able to sell the three-bedroom home for a net price of $158,000 and the two-bedroom home for around $118,000, according to McKnight.
“They are going to be really nice houses,” he said.
Vermont Smart Growth Collaborative, a nonprofit organization that promotes development that preserves rural landscape, has already given kudos to the housing collaboration by the ACCT, bank and Green Woods Village.
“We’ve been very, very happy with the way this has happened,” McKnight said.