Save the Lyon group now owns school

Mary Perham

After 10 years of lawsuits, it’s all over except for unlocking the doors.

The Save the Lyon Commission now owns the former Dana Lyon School building, a historic landmark on Liberty Street in Bath.

The 91-year-old building has been at the center of a three-cornered dispute between the Bath Central School district, building owner Peter Krog and the commission, which owns the Primary Annex attached to the larger building.

However, Krog has donated the building to the commission, which paid the closing fees, according to Commission Treasurer Walter Longwell.

“We are very pleased that Mr. Krog and the school district have joined the commission in a resolution that will benefit the Bath community and preserve this historic landmark,” Longwell said.

Longwell said the commission now will consider what needs to be done to repair the vacant three-story school and look for a developer.

The commission also will renew its search for grants for the annex, now named the Waterman Center, in honor of the Davenport descendants.

“Some of the problems we’ve had getting grants has to do with the (legal issues),” he said. “But now that’s over. It’s over.”

The commission also will look for donations of “time and treasure,” Longwell said.

The building was sold 10 years ago to private investors after a new elementary school was opened on the Bath school district’s main campus.

However, community members argued the property would revert back to any heirs of the building’s original owner, Ira Davenport. A small group began its own search and located several descendants living on the West Coast.

The Davenport heirs then teamed up with local residents, who formed the Save The Lyon Commission – and a long, complicated legal battle began.

Tensions increased after Krog announced he wanted to raze the school and put in a retail shop, such as a drugstore.

The commission successfully blocked the demolition because Krog’s building and the annex share a wall.

The tenacity and dedication of the early commission and generosity of the Davenport heirs led to the recent outcome, Longwell said.

“We hope the school will serve as a permanent monument, to honor the contributions Mr. Davenport and his heirs have made to the community,” he said.