PARIS — The McLaughlin Foundation is seeking public input on how to utilize a neighboring property it acquired last fall. 

Executive Director Barbara Durr said Thursday that the nonprofit organization has received two grants in recent months totaling about $18,000 that will integrate the 103 Main St. property.

Immediate plans for the building and land include expanding the garden’s footprint into the abutting lot, which includes a 19th-century house. The building has been used for a variety of events, including education demonstrations.

The property, which Durr referred to as the Curtis House, was purchased by the foundation against the wishes of its owner last October. 

The property was initially slated to be turned into a Family Dollar store, a proposal that met resistance in the community.

The foundation, which runs the McLaughlin Garden & Homestead next door, bought the property from Florida-based Hunt Acquisitions after former owner Koriene Low transferred the company the deed through a purchase and sale agreement.

A community foundation grant received in May will provide the foundation with $3,000 to complete a needs assessment on what the community would like to see the building become. 

In addition to inviting the public for gatherings and hosting meetings, Durr said a formal survey will take place inquiring about locals’ vision for the site. 

Details on the plan are still being hammered out, but Durr expected the study to be completed in the spring. 

The garden’s second grant, $15,000 from the Davis Family Foundation, will help the group revise its master plan, which was created when it was founded and needs updating.

The idea, Durr said, is for the garden to grow with community support. 

“I think our meetings with the community are far more positive than making decisions on our own,” she said. 


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