Massachusetts voters approve plan to rehab, not tear down, factory on endangered list

Last week residents of Easton, Mass., headed to the polls to vote on a proposal to renovate the town's historic factory. By a more than two to one margin, the voters approved Boston-based Beacon Communities LLC's plans to turn the Ames Shovel Shops into apartments and a park.

"There were 800 people or so; the line was out the door," says Greg Galer, a member of the Easton Historical Commission and longtime resident who voted on Apr. 5. "It's very satisfying."

The 560-209 vote trumps the property owners' plan to construct apartments on the 18-acre site without preserving its 15 buildings. Last year, Easton's zoning board of appeals granted Ames' current owners, Robert and George Turner, a permit for that project, prompting the National Trust for Historic Preservation to add the Ames Shovel Shops to its list of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.

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