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Homeless barn needs new space

These may not be a few of your favorite things, but they are what clutters the inside of an approximately 100-year-old barn once owned by Peter Lefferts in Richmond Hill. A barn whose current owner hopes can be restored to the beautiful property that once was. Hale Storm, a junk collector and owner of the barn on 86-119 116th St., is looking to either sell the building to someone who intends on preserving it or donate it to the Richmond Hill Historical Society. He already sold the property where the barn is situated.His mission may be easier said than done, however. Storm contacted the Queens County Farm Museum to donate the barn, but the museum did not take him up on the offer, according to its president, Jim Trent. Trent said the barn "would not fit within the historical context" of the museum. He said he was told by the Richmond Hill Historical Society that the barn was from the 1830s, but he determined that it "looked more like the 1890s." Apart from historical reasons, Trent said it would be expensive to take the barn apart and move it, adding that the cleanup would take "years." "Richmond Hill will be a better place when that mess is gone," he said. The museum does not have the budget for acquisition and restoration of the barn, Trent said, calling the situation "a financial strain." He was reluctant to even call it a barn but rather a carriage house, since his knowledge led him to believe the building was more likely used to house buggies, not animals. Storm said that the barn could be moved 150 feet to the left and 100 feet in front of its current location at a cost ranging from $30,000 to $50,000. But the Richmond Hill Historical Society indicated the owner of the adjacent lot was not interested in the barn.The historical group would be interested in the barn, said Nancy Cataldi, its president, but the organization lacks the funds to preserve it. She said she is pessimistic that the barn can be saved. "I don't know where it can go from here. I'm sure (the future owners) are going to tear it down. It's sad," said Cataldi. She added that Storm should not have sold the property before giving more thought about what to do with the barn.If you are interested in preserving the barn, contact Hale Storm at (917) 941-5739.Reach intern Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 188.

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