Tuesday morning's Board of Selectmen meeting turned into a public forum of sorts as residents turned out in large numbers to discuss the demolition of the red brick building at 64 Richmond Hill Road.

During the three-hour meeting, the Board tabled a request for contract approval with Sisca Northeast, a demolition firm, after it withdrew its bid of $21,323 with a contingency of $3,200, citing internal issues with its own bids for a disposal site.

The next lowest bid, $42,000, was significantly higher than what was budgeted.

"Now we have to wait for direction from the Board of Selectmen," Assistant Director of Public Works Tiger Mann said.

The demolition contract was the second point on the agenda and after it became apparent that many people were going to speak, the board motioned to carry the discussion till after the rest of the agenda was completed.

Of the more than 20 residents who spoke, the majority were Richmond Hill residents in favor of the demolition. However, several citizens spoke in support of restoring the property.

Jim Bach spoke first on the issue. He said that while the property has some nostalgic elements, that the "garage was never anything but a cluttered work area." In regards to turning the building into a museum, Bach said, "A museum does not belong in Mead Park or congested Richmond Hill Road. There are great memories of course, but it is time for it to go."

Lazlo Papp, chairman of the Planning and Zoning Committee, discussed some of the logistics involved if the building were to be preserved.

"To make that building structurally sound needs substantial money, more so than required for demolition." He then commented that maintenance of a museum would be even more money.

Jack Flynn, a Richmond Hill resident, offered up some thoughts on how demolition would provide more open space for the park. He said that once the building is gone and the area is landscaped, it will become a "lovely area that you have added in terms of open space. I think the building has been an unfair burden being carried by those people on Richmond Hill."

John Lee, an architect and planner, said, "Open space in this town is a very valuable commodity. I strongly recommend with my professional ability as a planner that this building be removed."

Lee's suggestion to use the demolished bricks as part of a pathway for the Goldstar Walk in Mead Park was met with applause.

Others questioned the manner in which the building would be demolished. The garage has many issues with lead paint and asbestos and became the subject of concern among some at the meeting.

Lynn Tolin in particular asked if the lead paint would be a "health hazard."

Mike Farrell commented on the validity of calling the building a "carriage barn" by insisting that it is considered an "oil depot." Photographer and self-proclaimed barn advocate Kim Farrell said she was "taken aback" when she heard the building described as a carriage barn.

"Todd Levine, head of the Connecticut Trust [for Historic Preservation], considers it an oil depot and not a carriage barn," she said.

John Engel showed strong support for preserving the building.

"Maybe I'm a sucker for old brick buildings," he said. "I disagree that the barn will decrease property value. I feel as though there would be no impact. We are asking for a delay of 90 days to gather more information and come up with a plan. If we can prove that it is historic, raise money, and show some type of benefit to the community then I think we should explore that. If I'm wrong, knock down the building."

Mimi Findlay, perhaps the point person in support of preservation, followed Engel's remarks. She said the preservation group put forth the building to be reviewed by the Connecticut Historic Preservation Council at a meeting in Hartford on Nov. 3.

She did however reiterate that even if the state determines there to be some historic significance that "it does not save the building" and the town is not required to preserve the facility.

"A 90-day delay is all we want," she said.

Dick Bergmann, another strong supporter of preservation, gave his view on the historical significance of the building.

"There are only two of these oil depots left in Connecticut. Since we have one of them here, why not keep it," he said. "All we need is a little bit of time to get our act together and prove the building has historic value."

Still the majority of the audience and speakers reverted back to supporting the demolition.

Gregory Smith, a Richmond Hill resident, said he and Jack Flynn received 51 signatures in three hours supporting the demolition.

"We never called it a carriage barn," he said. "It was just the ugly brick building. The most important thing is the quality of life of residents in the area."

Smith said he hopes to continue collecting signatures from around the community.

Fred Chang reiterated these comments and proposed some new ideas of his own. "In my view, the building has very limited historical significance." He suggested preserving the building digitally via pictures online. "The liabilities [of preservation] outweigh the benefits," he said.

After three hours of lengthy discussion, First Selectman Jeb Walker said the BOS will work with the Department of Public Works to decide how to move forward "with demolition or non-demolition."