Kensington Town Council is weighing a request to turn an old blacksmith shop in its possession into an eatery.
The issue came up at the monthly committee of council meeting on Monday.
The building in question, known as the Historic James Mullally Blacksmith Shop, sits near the western end of the Kensington Rail Yard, next to the community gazebo and near the Island Stone Pub, Kensington Artist Co-op and a handful of other businesses.
The proponents, Karen and Trent Murphy, outlined their vision for the property in a letter to council.
“We want to provide what we feel is a unique and missed niche market in Kensington during the busy tourist season with the ability to get high quality restaurant food in a fast paced environment,” they wrote.
The building is currently vacant and has been for some time. Ventures, such as an art gallery, have been attempted over the years but nothing has panned out.
The Murphys propose to renovate the building at their own expense to meet their needs. They would be paying tenants of the town.
In their letter, they note the historic and unique aspects of the building are a big part of the attraction and say extra care would be taken to preserve the historic features of the building. They also pledge to ensure that any renovations would be done in such a way as to allow the building to be returned to its current state, if the venture should fail.
It was noted by some councillors that Karen has a track record in ventures like this as she was the original developer of the Island Stone Pub, which was built inside the community’s historic train station.
However, many councillors expressed trepidation at the project, especially regarding how extensive the renovations to the building would have to be.
The building is essentially bare bones, almost untouched since it was an actual blacksmith shop – it’s even still full of the tools of that trade.
Many councillors admitted that they had never been inside the building and essentially don’t know much about it. They raised concerns about potentially losing a piece of the town’s history.
Council resolved to visit the building as a group, do more research and get more information from the proponents before bringing the request back to next month’s council meeting for further discussion.