Odd Fellows Hall windows boarded up

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NORWAY — Code Enforcement Officer Joelle Corey-Whitman said broken windows on the front of the Odd Fellows Hall have been boarded up and are no longer a public hazard.

“As long as the broken panes of glass are covered and not an eyesore or safety issue from Main Street … this office is satisfied,” she said.

In January, Corey-Whitman notified building owner Sam Patel of Jasmin LLC to repair a broken, second-floor window she believed may have been caused by a pigeon trying to escape. There are also broken windows on the side next to the Norway Opera House, she said.

The eight second-story windows are completely boarded and the lower half of the eight third-story windows are covered. There are also some broken windows on the side of the building next to the Opera House.

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“I’ll be keeping an eye on the alley between Odd (Fellows) and Opera House buildings for any safety issues though,” she said.

In August, the Odd Fellows Hall was named one of Maine’s 10 most endangered historic places by Maine Preservation of Portland.

Patel, a retailer in southern Maine, purchased the empty, partially renovated three-story brick building in December from TD Bank. It was transferred to Jasmin LLC on Dec. 14, 2012. Since then, no action has been taken to reuse it.

A study of Odd Fellows Hall by Resurgence Engineering and Preservation of Portland several years ago indicated it would cost more than $800,000 to fully renovate it.

In July 2013, Patel was notified the town would take court action because the broken windows were a public hazard. Patel eventually fixed the windows, but some of them were broken again, prompting him to board them this time.

The basement and first floor of the Odd Fellows Hall were built in1894 after the Great Fire destroyed much of the downtown business district. The other floors were added in 1910. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is part of the historic downtown district.

The third floor contained a high-ceiling ceremonial space for the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Norway Lodge No. 16, which owned the building during the 19th century. The second floor had a kitchen and large dining area, along with law offices and a courthouse. The first floor traditionally has been storefronts.

ldixon@sunjournal.com

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