The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, December 19, 2008

New design unveiled for Town Common Honor Roll

The Honor Roll Committee (HRC) has incorporated feedback from its open forum in November into a new design for the Veterans Memorial on the Town Common. On December 9, Neal Emmer of Levi and Wong showed the Board of Selectmen the latest and detailed the thinking behind it. With BOS approval, the HRC will now meet with the Historical Commission and First Religious Society (FRS) Parish Committee and hopes to be able to finalize the design by the end of January, and to have the memorial completed by Memorial Day in May.

Selectman and HRC Chair Doug Stevenson characterized the feedback to date as “a lot of positive opinions and some negative opinions.” Emmer noted that three preliminary designs were presented at the November forum, and the committee heard several suggestions. Those included less hardscape, lower scale, older materials, and the addition of slogans or sayings on the plaques. The designers incorporated that feedback into one of the existing plans and presented a new design to the BOS and the Mosquito.

The design by Levi and Wong includes a wall 30 inches high with bronze plaques that lean back from the top. A granite stone will provide seating.

In the new design, the wall is 30 inches high and the bronze plaques lean back from the top. Grass instead of granite will now surface the area in front of the wall, and it will be framed by plantings of “materials indigenous to Carlisle.” Emmer noted the reduction in granite has a softening effect. A stone of irregular granite before the plaques will provide seating for visitors wishing to sit and reflect.

Schematic shows location of the memorial on the north end of the Common.

A short pathway made of the same chip seal as the pathways in the Town Center will lead visitors from Concord Street. The pathway and memorial will be handicapped accessible with no steps. Emmer noted the picture shows the granite more prominently than it will be set. In reality it will be flush with the lawn to prevent a tripping hazard. A more extensive pathway along Concord Street has been suggested to the Town Common Circulation Committee which will be making recommendations to the BOS.

The location at the north end of the Common will provide a flat surface and connection to the Town Center without affecting the rest of the Common. The memorial will be seen from Concord Street, but will be “low, unimposing and dignified.” The view of the FRS will be unimpeded. No trees will be removed, although one electric pole may have to be dealt with.

BOS member Bill Tice suggested that the pathway along Concord Street would be “a great idea.” However, Hult noted “a strong desire by the church not to have hard surface” in front of the FRS building. Tice also wondered if the memorial would be wheelchair-accessible and was assured this would be possible.

Stevenson said the HRC had to take a “less is more” attitude in order to stay within the $85,000 construction budget. The current design has reduced the number of stones and the committee is hoping to find some around town it can recycle. In addition, the DPW will be approached to do some of the site work. He noted that the estimate for casting the bronze has come in at $10,000 instead of the $20,000 budgeted and this will also help.

The HRC had specified a number of guiding principles that drove the design for the memorial, said Emmer. Those included reflection of the town’s character and history, a dignified and permanent memorial, integrated into the Town Common, a respectful area for repose and reverence, easy access for all visitors, space for ceremonies, durable materials and easy maintenance and upkeep. In addition, names were to be displayed in a manner that indicated the era of service and starred those who were killed in action.

Hult summarized the response of the BOS, “I really like this. You’ve done a very good job of capturing what the space should be.” Stevenson said the HRC will be moving ahead quickly “We have a tight timeframe.” ∆

© 2008 The Carlisle Mosquito