How can we make sure we don’t lose the big red barn on Hazeldean Road?
I’ve had a lot of people ask me about what’s happening to the old house and barn, across from the Bushtakah/Lowe’s.
The land they’re on will be developed by Richcraft. Both the house and the barn are included in the plan of subdivision, and will soon be surrounded by new houses and businesses along Hazeldean.
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The farm and barn are known as the “Bradley-Craig Farmstead”, and are among the oldest buildings in the area. They were built just after the great fire of 1870 that wiped out pretty much everything in the area. We know the barn was built in 1873, making it a Stittsville landmark for over 140 years old. (More here about the history of the farm.)
The Bradley family owned the land on Lot 29, Concession 11 from the 1820s to 1970s, and the Craigs owned it from the 1970s until mid 2000’s. The buildings have been vacant for about five years.
The farmhouse (also built early 1870s) is in great shape. The barn is another story. It’s not in imminent danger of collapse, but one city official told me privately that there are concerns about the structure. The longer it sits unused, the worse it gets. And empty buildings are a magnet for vandals and arsonists.
In the Ottawa Citizen last year, a planner for Richcraft said they are maintaining the building, but indicated that it wouldn’t be restored unless there was a viable business use. “We’re not going to restore it just so someone can look at it,” said Kevin Yemm.
I want to challenge our readers to offer up some suggestions as to what kind of business might be able to use a barn like this. Could it be a community centre? A performance hall? A sports facility? A museum? A restaurant?
It’s not an insurmountable challenge. Just south of Almonte, two business partners have converted a 150-year-old barn into a music hall, opening later this month. Are there any entrepreneurs who can step forward and pull off something like that in Stittsville?
Add your ideas below, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org