September 12 by Carol Britton Meyer
The Community Preservation Committee has its work cut out for this round of Community Preservation Act funding, tasked as they are with choosing which of $3.2 million-worth of proposals to recommend to Town Meeting out of the estimated $1.6 to $1.8 million that will be available after the state partial match is announced in November.
The Committee received 13 pre-applications for funding assistance, including:
* the already-permitted Wakeman O'Donnell visitors center at World's End (see details below);
* purchasing the historic Benjamin Lincoln House on North Street (sale price to be determined), to be used as a community learning center/museum;
* an unrelated request for the creation of a Benjamin Lincoln Park on Station Street "as a historical reminder of a man who [helped] found a nation and [helped] form the Town of Hingham as we know it today," according to the pre-application -- requesting $100,000 from CPA funds toward the total estimated $250,000 project cost;
*painting the exterior of the former Tree & Park Barn in Hingham Centre;
* improvements to the well-used Plymouth River tennis courts;
* an updated "Vision for the Inner Harbor" to replace the outdated 2007 harbor survey and architectural master plan;
* a South Shore Country Club improvement plan that includes a year-round outdoor pool with a bubble over it ($2.75 million request to be funded over 11 years to help pay the debt service on the estimated $10 million overall project that includes capital investment in the entire facility); and
* a shade pergola at Founders Park near Hingham Cemetery.
Other requests for CPA funding include $650,000 by the Hingham Affordable Housing Trust to pursue affordable housing opportunities; a needs assessment and initial treatment of the historic Canterbury Street cemetery; restoration of the Second Parish clock tower; the CPC administrative fund, and a Lehner property conservation area fence. It was noted that Loni Fournier of the Conservation Department has received complaints from abutting neighbors that people visiting the open-space Lehner property have wandered into their yards.
Back to the Benjamin Lincoln House, according to CPC member Kevin Burke, representing the Historical Commission, the house was recently put on the market "for the first time in several hundred years." However, the Lincoln family -- which has lived in the house since the 17th Century, agreed to take it off the market until the CPA process is complete, he said. "The family doesn't want it to go into the hands of private owners, who could possibly change the inside of the house. The house would come with the contents, including a number of historic artifacts. It's like taking a walk back in time."
The CPC reviewed the pre-applications last night. The meeting was led by new CPC Chairman Larry Lindner. "Everything is preliminary at this point," he said. "We haven't heard from the applicants yet."
Member Vicki Donlan, representing the Hingham Recreation Commission, noted regarding the two proposals related to Benjamin Lincoln that he was not a relative of Abraham Lincoln, as some residents believe.
The projected cost of a new World's End visitors center is $330,860, including a request for $100,000 in CPA funding. The environmentally-friendly center would provide improved visitor amenities and a "modest education and meeting space for people participating in programs there," according to the pre-application. The CPC is aware of neighborhood concerns.
Final applications are due Oct. 4. More details will be available at that time. The applicants will present their proposals at a later CPC meeting. All meetings are open to the public.
Out of the available funding, $134,806 will go toward the Heritage Museum debt service and $318,534 for the debt service on the Lehner property on South Pleasant Street.
Community Preservation Act funding comes from a 1.5 percent CPA annual taxpayer surcharge that Hingham voters adopted in 2000. The state matches a portion of the funds.
CPA funds may only be used for open space acquisition, historic preservation, community housing, and limited recreational projects.
The CPC will make its recommendations at the April 2020 Town Meeting, which has the final say.