Weston’s Onion Barn to get new roof and repairs

Onion Barn

The Onion Barn in Weston Center is getting a new roof and other repairs. —Patricia Gay photos

A building that has served for years as the town’s billboard, as well as an iconic landmark in the center of town, is getting a new roof.

The town is spending approximately $10,000 for a roof and foundation work on the Onion Barn, located directly across the street from the Weston Shopping Center.

Town Administrator Tom Landry said he has engaged Dave Gengo of Salem Preservation Inc. of Ridgefield to make the repairs. “Dave Gengo does historic preservation on barns and buildings, so this is a good project for him,” Mr. Landry said.

The work will include $7,500 for a new roof and $2,500 for foundation work. “A broken roof beam needs to be repaired and some cabling work inside the building needs to be done, too,” he added.

The work is scheduled to begin the week of Oct. 1. Funding for the project will come from the town’s maintenance and repair line, which is part of the current budget.

The Onion Barn, a historic part of Weston, was originally built in 1830 and was used to store the town’s bumper crop  — onions. Over the years, the barn has primarily been used as a bulletin board, with banners and signs about town events and activities posted on its outside walls.

Boy Scout troops have used the Onion Barn for Christmas tree sales, and for the past 15 years, the Weston High School Booster Club has used it to store and collect recyclables as a fund-raiser.

In April, the group had to stop collecting cans and bottles at the Onion Barn because of structural issues with the roof, siding and support beams.

Mr. Landry said the existing Onion Barn structure has had many repairs and replacements done to it over time. “The roof, siding and floor are not original. About six or seven years ago, the building was listing on one side, and the town did some internal cabling to pull it back into shape,” he said in April.

The  Weston Kiwanis Club contributed significantly to a past renovation.

First Selectman Gayle Weinstein, who approved the latest repairs, called the Onion Barn “quintessential Weston.”

“It has been a fixture in town for many years and a lot of people are emotionally attached to it,” she said.

Because the project is considered a minor repair, she said it did not need to go out to bid and did not need to go before the Board of Selectmen or the Historic District Commission (it is located in one of the town’s designated historic districts) for approval.

Though in the past the Kiwanis Club paid for renovations to the Onion Barn, this time around Ms. Weinstein said the town would foot the entire bill. “We have money we put in the operating budget for building repairs. This is a town building and a historic barn, and we need to maintain it in good repair,” she said.

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