Community Preservation Committee recommends funding toward Benjamin Lincoln House purchase and South Shore Country Club pool design

Photo courtesy of the Hingham Historical Society
Photo courtesy of the Hingham Historical Society

January 16 by Carol Britton Meyer

The Community Preservation Committee last night made its recommendations for the use of the town's Community Preservation Act funds for Town Meeting consideration, including the requested $500,000 for the creation of design/construction documents for a new town pool at South Shore Country Club and funds to help pay for the purchase of the historic Benjamin Lincoln House.

The SSCC Management Committee's initial request related to a South Shore Country Club improvement plan that included 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 included capital investment in the entire facility). Stay tuned for further details.

The CPC also recommended $772,000 of the $972,000 Hingham Historical Society's request to purchase the circa 1665 Benjamin Lincoln House at 181 North St.

Its most famous resident, Major General Benjamin Lincoln (1733-1810), was the fourth Lincoln to own the house, built by his great-grandfather Thomas Lincoln. The Lincoln family has continuously lived there every since.

The Society reached an agreement with the owners to purchase the property for its assessed value, contingent upon the Society's ability to raise both the purchase price and a $1 million endowment needed to fund operating expenses. Should the Society purchase the property, the owners have agreed to donate the home’s most historically significant furnishings. Fundraising efforts are underway.

The unrelated  proposal to build a Benjamin Lincoln statue near the Settles Glass building at the corner of Station and North streets was withdrawn.

The CPC did not recommend funding for an updated "Vision for the Inner Harbor" to replace the outdated 2007 harbor survey and architectural master plan for various reasons nor for the painting of the Tree & Park Barn in Hingham Centre (funds for this maintenance project will come from elsewhere).

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 is also recommending:

* $75,000 for improvements to the well-used Plymouth River tennis courts;
* $32,030 to restore the Second Parish clock tower;
* $272,300 to the Hingham Affordable Housing Trust's Housing Opportunity Fund compared to its $877,000 request.
* $8,000 for Lehner conservation area improvements to mark the boundary between this land and adjacent private property rather than a fence.
* $40,000 to primarily clear brush from the historic Canterbury Street Cemetery and to restore access to the property.

Out of the available Community Preservation Act funding funding,  $133,000 will go toward the Heritage Museum debt service and $356,000 for the debt service on the Lehner property on South Pleasant Street.

The CPC will make its recommendations at the April 2020 Town Meeting, which has the final say. The Advisory Committee's recommendations will appear in the Town Meeting warrant. The CPC also makes its recommendations to the Selectmen.

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