Friday, February 8, 2008
Benfield Land, Honor Roll among CPC requests
On February 4, the Community Preservation Committee (CPC) met again with four of the five applicants who had submitted applications for funding from the FY09 grant cycle. Committee Chair Kelly Guarino noted that the CPC would use this second meeting with the applicants to answer any remaining questions in preparation for a final vote at their next meeting on February 25. Requests included: $2,500 for preserving historical artifacts, $4,000 for the rotary statue restoration, $40,000 for Gleason Library, $115,000 for the town's Veteran's Honor Roll and up to $425,000 for infrastructure for development on the Benfield Land.
· Conservation and exhibiting of historical artifacts. Janet Hentschel appeared representing the Carlisle Historical Society. The society has requested $2,500 for tools and storage materials of archival quality for historic maps and textiles relating to the history of Carlisle. In response to a question from the committee, Hentschel stated that the historical society has two collections. One collection belongs to the town and was previously stored at Gleason Library. The other belongs to the society. Both are currently housed at Heald House. Hentschel noted that, should the society ever disband, everything, including Heald House, would revert to town ownership. "These are the town's artifacts that need safe-keeping."
·Assessment and cleaning of the Liberty statue. The Carlisle Garden Club has requested $4,000 for cleaning the statue in the town rotary. The Garden Club was not asked to appear before the CPC again, since this application was originally submitted last year, but the need for additional information resulted in its being held until this grant cycle. In the intervening time the Garden Club had answered all remaining questions for the CPC and no further discussion was necessary.
· Upgrade of Town Honor Roll. The CPC struggled with a request from the Town Honor Roll Committee for approximately $115,000 for design and construction services to upgrade the town honor roll. Selectman Alan Carpenito answered questions for the committee, "It is our intent to preserve in perpetuity the names of those on the current memorial." Carpenito added that the committee hoped the final memorial would be done in stone rather than wood. Although the CPC was unanimous in their philosophical support for the monument, several members felt that the project did not fit the definition of any of the types of work that could be supported with CPA funds. CPC member Sylvia Sillers, representing the Historical Commission, noted that the commission did not see this work as preservation. Kent Gonzales of the Planning Board added, "It is a stretch under the CPC guidelines since there is no intention to rebuild or rehabilitate what is already there. It is tough to justify use of historic resource funds for this." However, Selectman and CPC member Tim Hult voiced support for the project, "A reasonable man might say that you were upgrading your historical monument from a wooden structure to a stone structure." The CPC agreed to ask town counsel for an opinion, requesting that Carpenito prepare a short description of the project and provide cost estimates from similar memorials in other towns. Hult summed up the feelings of the CPC, "We want this, the people of the town really want this. If it doesn't fit under the CPA guidelines we will just have to find another way to fund it."
· Gleason Library façade preservation. Library Trustees Phil Conti and Priscilla Stevens and Gleason Public Library Director Angela Mollet presented a modification to the original application which had requested $340,000 for removal of original bricks and granite blocks on the exterior façade of the 110-year-old building where water has infiltrated and for necessary repairs. Mollet's effort to compare estimates for the repair work has resulted estimates ranging from $185,000 - $300,000. Conti stated, "in order to refine the cost estimate for the total project, we need to hire someone to remove some bricks in the area that we know is a problem. We know we don't have to rebuild the whole surface and we know we don't have to repoint the whole surface, but we cannot be sure of what the final costs will be until we are more sure of exactly what needs to be done." For this reason, Conti proposed amending the application to request only start-up funds during this grant cycle. The amended amount of $40,000 would cover costs to hire a preservation specialist, to assess the situation once some bricks from the façade have been removed, to design the plan for the preservation reconstruction and to issue and review the Request for Proposals (RFP) for the work. The committee agreed to accept the application as amended.
· Benfield infrastructure. Alan Lehotsky outlined the Carlisle Housing Authority's request for up to $425,000 for engineering and construction of an access road, drilling a public water supply and installing a septic system for 26 units of senior housing on the Benfield Property. Lehotsky stated that the authority was in the process of preparing an RFP to build the senior housing. "I anticipate that this might be a tough sell. Typically developments have a mix of market rate and subsidized housing in order to make a project financially feasible." However, because the land was purchased with CPA funds, there are strict affordability requirements on all of the units. This grant would allow the Housing Authority to provide the infrastructure on the land as part of an agreement with a builder if necessary. Gonzales suggested wording any possible agreement with a developer such that the money could only be spent on the road, well and septic system. Hult felt that using the Housing Trust may provide a broader representation of the town during negotiations. The CPC asked Lehotsky to talk to the RFP consultant about the specificity of wording and to talk to the Housing Authority about working with the Housing Trust on this project.
© 2008 The