Town officials wonder: Is there a future for the Chester College campus?
By ADAM SWIFT Union Leader Correspondent
CHESTER - When Chester College graduated its final class in the spring, students and faculty of the small liberal arts school weren't the only ones facing questions about what would happen next.
The town is left with an empty campus of nearly 80 acres and doubts about what will happen to the biggest taxable property in town.
"The college is the largest taxpayer in town with $57,000 in taxes," said selectman Chairman Stephen Landau.
To help answer some questions about the property and possibly solicit some ideas about its future development, town officials and college trustees are holding an informal meeting with the public about the property on Saturday, Jan. 5 at 3 p.m. in the town office building at 84 Chester St.
He said the meeting will also address questions about what could happen to the property if proposals that do not comply with town regulations come before the Zoning Board of Appeals.
Landau said there have been informal talks about development of some of the property, but nothing concrete is in place yet.
The small liberal arts college with a focus on writing and the arts closed after facing a growing deficit in its operating budget.New England College in Henniker entered into an agreement to accept Chester College students who attended last year.
The Chester College Board of Trustees approved an agreement with New England College allowing all students accepted or currently enrolled at Chester to enroll automatically at New England College. Chester students were able to transfer all their credits and will pay the same tuition rate as the anticipated 2012-13 Chester College tuition.