by Billy Ball
For the moment, Hillsborough's historic Colonial Inn has been saved.
Members of the town's Historic District Commission unanimously voted Wednesday to reject a request to demolish the decaying structure on King Street.
The inn's owner, Francis Henry, hasn't spoken to media about his request, but his demolition application to the town indicated he wanted to replace the inn with a grassy lot.
The downtown Hillsborough structure, built in 1838, has languished in disrepair since he bought the property in 2001. Since then, town officials have sued Henry, accusing him of attempting the demolish the inn by neglect.
Commission Chair Mark Bell recused himself from a vote Wednesday, citing that he had a prior business relationship with Henry.
Vice Chairwoman Anna Currie said the board denied Henry's application because it was not "congrous" with the town's historic district guidelines, which preserve structures of historic significance. The inn is the only building in Orange County to have been recognized by the state as a landmark of historical significance.
"It's near and dear to people's hearts," said Currie. "The town would like nothing better than for someone to bring it back to significance."
Last night's meeting attracted droves of preservationists seeking to save the building. Check next week's Indy for a review of what's next for the Colonial Inn.