September 30, 2020 by Carol Britton Meyer
The Selectmen last night supported four Community Preservation Act funding proposals that involve town property continuing to the next step in the process.
These projects relate to restoration of town military and historical memorials; Green House Dock Museum improvements and Ecology Pavilion at Bare Cove Park; South Shore Country Club pool project; and a Vision for Hingham Harbor update.
Selectmen Chair Mary Power emphasized that this was a procedural vote in nature, and not an endorsement of the various proposals -- which will be fully vetted at upcoming Community Preservation Committee, Selectmen, and Advisory Committee meetings. Town Meeting 2021 will have the final say.
CPA funding comes from a Town Meeting-supported, 1.5 percent property tax surcharge approved in the early 2000s and may only be applied only to open space, historic preservation, community housing, and limited recreational projects. The state provides a partial matching grant.
Here are some of the project proposal details/requests:
⦁ $3 million for a new town pool at South Shore Country Club, from a total project estimate of $7.6 million. The current pool has been closed for some time and will not reopen because of its poor and unsafe condition.
The SSCC recognized last year that its enterprise (self-supporting) budget could not cover the costs of constructing and operating both a new pool and a maintenance facility that supports the golf course operation.
Town Meeting 2020 voters approved a $500,000 CPA grant for the design of the pool, with construction documents. That process is underway. The enterprise fund will cover the cost of the maintenance facility.
The proposal includes an eight-lane outdoor pool with splash pad, bathroom/locker facilities, and spectator area, built to accommodate a year-round "bubble" for use by the entire community.
⦁ An as yet unfinalized amount to restore town military and historical memorials that are in need of repair. These include a Marine mascot dog memorial in Bare Cove Park on DPW property, which has stood since the 1930s, unmaintained; a giant boulder on Rockland Street, presented to the town by the Bouve family; a memorial in memory of First Lieutenant Curtis Edward Chase, a 1961 Hingham High School graduate who died in Vietnam in 1967; and a monument in the Hull Street Park.
⦁ $237,000 to rehabilitate the Green Dock House Museum at Bare Cove Park -- which displays war artifacts -- and to create and model Hingham's first green technology structure, thereby creating a meeting space pavilion complete with wind or solor energy, composting toilets, and rainwater use.
⦁ Between $60,000 and $75,000 to develop an updated Vision for Hingham's Inner Harbor. This is a joint application of the Harbor Development Committee and the Bathing Beach Trustees. Since the preparation of the 2007 Hingham Harbor Survey and Architectural Master Plan, a significant amount of change, improvement, and development has occurred to harbor structures and usage, project proponents say, so the plan needs to be completely restructured.
Such a plan would include suggested waterfront activities, from concerts and visits by school groups to Recreation Department programming and the possible addition of more mooring spaces for use by out-of-town boaters/Hingham residents.
An updated plan would be separate but complementary to the currently-underway Hingham Harbor and Downtown Sustainable Visioning Project.
In other business at the meeting:
⦁ The Selectmen approved a request form the Hingham Downtown Association to use the sidewalks and Greenbush tunnel cap for the 15th Annual Hingham Arts Walk on Sunday, Oct. 18, from noon to 4 p.m.
The socially-distanced event will feature live outdoor artist demonstrations, pottery-making and plein air painting, artwork to enjoy and purchase, and more. Face masks are required.
South Shore Country Club is planning a family event the same day, which will complement the Art Walk.
⦁ Chrissy Roberts, Steven Weiss, and Sam Mullin were appointed to the Citizens Advisory Board for the Weir River Water System. Power suggested the Selectmen's staff reach out to town officials in Hull and Cohasset to request that they fill the remaining three seats in accordance with an earlier Town Meeting vote -- two for Hull and one for Cohasset, because the water system serves only a small portion of that town's residents.
⦁ Mayo reported that the town received a request from AMC Stalwart Productions to film a portion of a TV series near 19-39 Main Street in Hingham Square over Columbus Day weekend. "Our office is coordinating with Police, Fire, Building, Health, and other departments to ensure this can take place safely," he said.
⦁ Power reported that following an executive session that occurred prior to the selectmen's regular meeting last night, "the board made the determination to begin negotiations for a new employment contract with Fire Chief Steve Murphy, subject to the selectmen's approval at a future meeting.