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Owners tell Gilford that Kimball Castle will be fenced in, not torn down

Union Leader Correspondent

April 10. 2014 7:51PM
Kimball Castle in Gilford has been declared a danger to the public. (COURTESY)

GILFORD — Kimball Castle likely won't be torn down by the end of this month, the "make safe" deadline for the castle's owners.

Because the 1897 structure has fallen into disrepair and is potentially dangerous, selectmen have given the Jodoin family an order to raze the castle or fence it by the end of this month.

"My understanding is that they are going to have it fenced in by April 30," Town Administrator Scott Dunn said.

At a hearing on the castle's future Wednesday, selectmen reiterated their opposition to the town buying the castle. But those in attendance were given news about the castle's appraised value, which is lower than the owners' asking price of $799,000. The town was given a discount to $700,000 if it wished to buy the castle and its acreage.

At the request of a selectmen-appointed committee, the Kimball Wildlife Forest Committee, the selectmen had an appraisal done of the castle and its property. The appraisal, completed last week and presented to the public Wednesday night, puts the value at $375,000.

A previous town appraisal put the value at $210,000.

The wildlife fund group has about $200,000 saved toward buying and restoring the castle, but Dunn said the castle's owners have not shown any willingness to come down from their asking price.

Still, those trying to save the castle remain hopeful. Sandra McGonagle, chair of the committee, said a private buyer may come forward. There is also hope that the state's Land and Community Heritage Investment Program may help.

The castle was named on the 2013 list of "Seven to Save" by the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance. The castle is also on record with the National Register of Historic Places.

"We believe we could raise the additional funds if a plan can be put together," McGonagle said.

The castle is the former estate of railroad magnate Benjamin A. Kimball. In March 2013, selectmen were notified by the town's building inspector that the castle had become "a hazardous building that posed a threat to public safety because of the constant parade of trespassers who enter the building illegally."

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