The City Council's Committee on Appointments and Briefings unanimously voted to approve the partial demolition of the Coffin-Howland House at Hazelwood Park after a public hearing Monday evening.

The northern portion of the building has been destroyed beyond repair by an arson fire and repeated vandalism over the past two decades.

The building dates back to 1854, but the New Bedford Historical Commission has determined it "a historically significant structure but not preferably preserved," and Preservation Planner Anne Louro says it's time to focus on salvaging what they can.

"We need to just clear off the northern portion and the southern portion of the building will remain and we're going to move forward with rehabilitating that particular portion of the building for park purposes," Louro said.

Funding for the project is expected to be provided by the recently created Community Preservation Act fund.

During a comment period of the hearing, Carl Simmons suggested to preserve the foundation of the structure so "it can continue to tell the story of that structure and still be a unique space that people can enjoy for future generations."

The full City Council will vote to grant the city a demolition permit during next week's meeting.

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