“landmark”, “historic”, “Chester identity”, “restaurant”, “bank”, “pharmacy”, “townhouses”, “condominiums”, “Liberty Village”, “town hall”, “B&B/motel”, “rezoning”, “conference center”, “traffic”, “rateables”, “Whole Foods”, “up scale hotel”, “recession”, “downtown hurting”, “open space”, “sewage treatment”
2013? No, those words are from the 2000-2009 discussions on the future of Larison’s Turkey Farm site. We are hearing the same words in the current discussion about the future of the Turkey Farm.
We may disagree about the future of Larison’s Turkey Farm, but we shouldn’t disagree about its recent past. In 2010 Chester Library had the Chester Historical Society’s collection of Observer Tribunes from 1950 to 2009 scanned into a database. Using that database I searched for articles about the Larison’s Turkey Farm property. Here are the relevant articles I found since 2000. I tabulate the date, the author, the headline, and excerpts from the news article. There is more to a story than the headline so reading the excerpt is helpful. I hope that we can learn from past events and debates and apply insights and observations to current decision making.
The story starts with the owner of Larison’s, Arthur McGreevy deciding to retire and sell the Turkey Farm:
October 26, 2000
By Robert Ford
Article Titled "Historic turkey farm may be developed"
“Larison's Turkey Farm Inn, a landmark at the intersection of Route 206 and Route 24 since the 1940s, might fall under a developer's wrecking ball.
Borough Engineer Charles Balut said while no formal plans have been presented to the Planning Board, there has been some discussion about constructing a CVS Pharmacy and a bank on the corner lot and either demolishing the restaurant or moving it back towards the rear of the site. Mayor Hugh Newman, who also sits on the Planning Board, said he would not look favorably on any plan that calls for the destruction of the popular site. Several years ago, when the borough was setting up its Historic District, Larison's was left out by an oversight, Newman said. The district stopped at the Route 206 border. If the farm had been included in the district, a developer would not be permitted to remove it. For many years, Chester has been identified with the restaurant as a landmark, Newman said.”
Click here to access 30 additional excerpts from the Observer Tribune related to Larison's Turkey Farm and its history.