Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Globe Article Touches on Bridgewater Town Buildings

Sunday's Boston Globe discussed town buildings across the state and Bridgewater's own historic buildings were discussed. Click here to read the article. Community Preservation Chair Marilee Kenney Hunt has drafted the following letter to the editor relative to the article.

Dear Editor:

I applaud your spotlight on the deplorable condition of many Massachusetts Town Halls. Certainly, in New England, preserving the historic integrity of our cities, towns and villages often begins with municipal buildings.

I wonder, then, why you did not mention the incredible advantage the Community Preservation Act (CPA) affords 142 Massachusetts communities. In Bridgewater, which is cited extensively in the article, two town employees describe the deplorable state of the Town Hall and Academy Building including a lack of accessibility. Full disclosure: A reporter also spoke with me about those buildings since I chair the Community Preservation Committee.

While I am not surprised by the apt description of our unmaintained buildings, I was incredulous to read not one word noting the active intervention of the Community Preservation Committee. At Bridgewater's 2007's Spring Town Meeting, the town appropriated $60,000 from the CPA for a comprehensive, architectural, condition and use report on all four municipal buildings to serve as a road map for their preservation and restoration. Based on that report, at the Spring Town Meeting in 2008, $15,000 from the CPA was appropriated for accessibility upgrades to the Academy Building and the Fall Town Meeting appropriated an additional $622,356 from the CPA "…for the purpose of partially restoring and preserving the Bridgewater Town Hall...and the Bridgewater Academy Building…"

Although revenues are down and Bridgewater struggles to maintain basic services, its citizens had the great good sense to pass the Community Preservation Act in 2005. Far from being a complete panacea, it can and is being used to preserve and restore our historical buildings, retain and create open space and ensure affordable housing—keeping irreplaceable, precious assets of our towns intact through these difficult times. Those facts are as true as the dilapidation and disrepair. They were relevant and should have been noted in your article about our decaying town treasures.


Marilee Kenney Hunt

Chair, Bridgewater Community Preservation Committee

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for standing up for the CPA and Bridgewater in general, Marilee!