The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, November 9, 2007

News

Town explores Honor Roll options

The Veterans Memorial Advisory Committee (VMAC) is hoping to put forward a workable plan for revamping the Honor Roll in time for 2008 Annual Town Meeting. The Honor Roll, which resides at the foot of the Town Common, consists of two wood boxes erected in the 1940s and 1980s to honor Carlisle veterans of WW I and II and Korea. It is in need of repair or replacement, but a plan to fix the structures offered by the Town Common Committee (TCC) was defeated at last spring's Town Meeting. The defeat came after the Selectmen declined to support the plan, with Selectman Doug Stevenson suggesting a more permanent memorial, perhaps in stone, would be more appropriate.

Since that time, Stevenson has organized the VMAC, on which veterans are represented. That committee includes Al Cameron, Larry Bearfield, Ned Berube, and Greg Fairbank. Alan Carpenito is Selectman alternative, and another member, hopefully from the Historical Commission, is being sought. The committee has met twice, and Stevenson reports that "in general, we are on the same page." They have looked at a plan designed by Architect Nicholas Reed in 2006, and "most liked that concept." However, the Historical Commission(HC) had previously rejected that plan in favor of rebuilding what was there.

One issue raised at the time was that the TCC wished to use $22,000 in Community Preservation Act funds, and these are earmarked for preservation, not replacement of historical structures.

On November 15, the committee will see a presentation of memorials around the state (see below) and is inviting the public in the hopes of receiving input. Further brainstorming will then take place, and a small amount of money may need to be raised to revisit the original plan. Discussions with Reed have taken place, and he is interested in working with the VMAC on revisions. Key to moving forward will be "building consensus around a plan" with overseeing boards and committees, says Stevenson. "Getting the Historical Commission on board is one of the bigger hurdles." He hopes adding a HC member on the VMAC will help resolve this issue.

While there had been some discussion of moving the memorial to avoid committee review, the VMAC decided "the Town Common is the right place" according to Stevenson. Reed's plan had suggested moving the memorial back six or eight feet to provide more room for people to gather in front. That idea is being examined, but will depend on the ability to keep a tree that is in the way. The plan also included grading around the flagpole that will also be considered. Other points of discussion have been adding names of Gulf War and Iraq veterans, and determining a process for whose name goes on. "In a transient society, it's not as clear," said Stevenson.

Stevenson notes the narrow focus of the committee is a strength, "We want to get this thing done. We're serious about making something happen."


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