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Clark Tavern Before Selectmen Tonight

Here are some photos taken inside the historic Clark Tavern. What do you think of the project?

The Clark Tavern at 353-355 Main Street in Medfield. Credit: Theresa Knapp.
The Clark Tavern at 353-355 Main Street in Medfield. Credit: Theresa Knapp.
John and Michelle Linnert purchased the historic Clark Tavern earlier this year with the hopes of restoring it to a tavern with some sleeping rooms -- much like it was when it served as a watering hole during the Revolutionary War (and George Washington was rumored to have slept there).

The Linnerts hope to run a family-friendly restaurant and function space, as well as five rooms in the Bed & Breakfast area.  

But some of the neighbors -- who have hired a lawyer -- have expressed concern about traffic, lighting, and say a "tavern" with 43 parking spots does not belong in their neighborhood. 

Last month, the Linnerts invited a few people (including the neighbors) into the Clark Tavern to talk about their plans for restoration and improvements. The house is in need of serious repairs, including a roof which is covered with a blue tarp until permits can be secured, but still holds much of its historic elements (including a three-seat-latrine) as you can see in the attached photos. 

In a June edition of the Hometown Weekly, Town Historian and Selectman Richard DeSorgher said that the purchase of the property at 353-355 Main Street (circa 1740) by John and Michelle Linnert is, "clearly a cause of celebration. It is a win-win situation for Medfield" as many were concerned with preserving the property. 

In fact, it was that article that got the Linnerts thinking.

"We became aware of the property from Richard's article in the Hometown Weekly," Michelle Linnert told Patch. "We have an interest in old homes and I had been interested in a longer term goal of owning a B&B and, after visiting the Tavern, we became intrigued with the idea of returning the historic building to its original purpose."

She said, "We thought it would meet some additional needs of the community -- a small inn for visiting guests, a casual restaurant/tavern where you could spend time with friends and family, a location where you could hold small celebrations or meetings -- and it's such an important part of Medfield's rich history."

Since purchasing the property, the Linnerts say they have met many people who are interested in restoring the building back and learning more about its history, and they are excited to get started on the project. 

At a selectmen's meeting last month, DeSorgher praised the Linnerts for their efforts and supported their plans to renovate an historically-significant property that had been vacant for too long. Regarding neighbor concerns, he said, "This is not going to be a 20-something sports bar, this is going to be a family tavern in a historic setting." 

DeSorgher also said that many of the large historic homes on Main Street have been purchased by people who use the property to generate funds to restore and maintain their properties.

"There's no way one person would be able to do the repairs and keep that up," he said. 

The hearing had been postponed while a traffic study was conducted. Those results will be presented to the board at tonight's meeting. 

dontlinkmyposts December 03, 2013 at 11:31 AM
What is the current zoning for the property?
Roslyn Talerman December 03, 2013 at 01:34 PM
The restoration of the Clark Tavern is a plus for the town in many ways. Roslyn Talerman
Colleen M. Sullivan December 03, 2013 at 05:19 PM
I hope the Selectman are in favor of this plan. It seems like a win-win for the Town of Medfield!
S P December 05, 2013 at 12:59 PM
Zoning is residential (RS). The rendering of the project doesn't show the 43 parking spots around the building that will engulf the majority of the ~1 acre of land that the building sits on now. It also shows the trees in the background, which will need to be cut down to put in the parking lot. Thus, it is a nice artist's rendition but not accurate. The plans for the project keep changing. First it was a 70 seat tavern, 4 room B&B, and 77 seat function room. Now it is apparently a 100 seat tavern, 5 room B&B (violated bylaws), and a "multi-function event space", which is likely still a 77 seat function room. The Linnerts (and their lawyer) are applauded for their desire to "restore" this historic building but the project is a wholesale renovation that includes adding on space to the building and paving all the land around it. There were no pictures showing the gutting of the inside of the tavern that has been done since being purchased. So, what will remain of this historic building? The name and the facade and perhaps a few historic pieces. As for the surrounding neighbors, we ask those in favor of this project, "Would you want a 177 seat business with a 5 room B&B and 43 parking spots that can't support this many seats, rooms, and employees in your backyard?" And, what happens if this business fails (61% of new restaurants fail within the first 3 years)? So, while the intentions may be good, there are significant concerns about the proposed project that may impact more than the neighbors that live around the property. I hope everyone educates themselves fully about the project before providing blind support for it.
C Wheaton December 15, 2013 at 08:24 PM
Looking forward to seeing the Linnert's move forward with their plans! No more condescending posts SP.
J P January 09, 2014 at 12:20 PM
I agree C Wheaton! This would be a nice addition to Medfield. Interesting that the service station and car wash along with DD (which hurt the Donut shop right next door) is right down the street and was approved so easily so why is this project getting so much negative publicity?

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