In response to recent inquiries about our plans for Helen's Barn, please see this statement from our Board President.
The Land Trust’s singular mission is the preservation of undeveloped land. It recently unexpectedly received Helen’s Barn, a commercial property, as a gift and has a clear fiduciary duty to use this gift to pursue its mission. The Land Trust cannot be a commercial landlord or be in the business of preserving historic structures. In fact, doing either could imperil its not for profit tax status. Selling Helen’s Barn at market rate is the only responsible alternative the Land Trust has consistent with its mission and the donor’s wishes.
The Land Trust was well aware that there may be interest in seeing the structure preserved, so before putting Helen’s Barn on the market at all, it first offered the Highlands Historical Society the opportunity to acquire it. The Historical Society advised that it was not in a position to do so. Indeed, apparently no one concerned about its preservation has ever sought to acquire it.
Helen’s Barn has been privately owned and commercially used for many years. It will no doubt continue to be used commercially if the current tenant so elects.
The Land Trust is open to discussions with the preservation-minded as long as the trust can meet its fiduciary duty.