The Benedict Farm House looks nice as you drive by, but up close and personal, the home which the town acquired from Ted in Edith Benedict has been neglected and is in need of repair. After Edith Benedict passed away in November of 2002, it appears that the doors were locked shut and nothing has been done to upkeep the home.

Ask Bruce Shafer what he thinks, and he’ll tell you with tears in his eyes, “I don’t want the house to fall down. They’ve been letting the house deteriorate, and it’s not right. If the town would only follow through on a grant to help preserve the house or take the time to seek out a plan of action for some practical use for the community, the farm home could really be the focal point of the park. It shouldn’t have gone this far.”

Shafer’s grandfather, Charles Burnett, was born in the farmhouse and his family owned the farm for more than a hundred years before it was sold to Edith and Ted Benedict. Shafer’s older brother Jerry explained, “I grew up on the farm with them raising Holstein Heifers which we used to show at the Orange County Fair. Charles Burnett was a great dairy farmer, lifetime member of the Brick Reformed Church, and later after retirement, head of the Brick Church Cemetery operation.”

Only recently, because of public outcry over the home’s state of disrepair, was testing performed by Above Grade Home Inspections. Samples came back positive for asbestos and lead, and in August the town board agreed to seek quotes from companies able to address the asbestos and lead. Aside from that, there is no plan for its use until the remediation is done. Want to share your thoughts or have an idea for the Benedict Farm Home’s use? Contact the Town of Montgomery (845) 457-2660 or attend the next Town Board Meeting. All Town Board Meetings begin at 7:00 p.m. on the 2nd floor of the Town Government Center located at 110 Bracken Road in Montgomery.

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