The Community Preservation Committee (CPC) met on December 1 to review eight applications for Community Preservation Act funds before voting Dec. 15 on whether to recommend each be included as warrants in the March 10 Duxbury Town Meeting. Peter Sullivan, a member of the Duxbury Sidewalk-Bikepath Committee (SBC), requested $40,000 to commission a biddable document for engineering plans for a proposed sidewalk along Depot Street.
CPC board member Pat Loring expressed concern about funding the actual construction of the project if the Board were to commit funds for engineering plans.
“Where are the construction funds going to come from?” asked Loring. “It’s still a very expensive per foot cost. If the anticipation is the construction funds will come from CPA funds, we need to know that.”
SBC member Elaine Philbrick was also in attendance and provided the CPC with a list of state grants that specifically target such projects. She said that before the Sidewalk Committee could apply for such funds, they would need to have both an engineering survey and design completed, and a commitment of support from the town.
Another item on the agenda was the restoration of the town-owned red barn at North Hill. The proposal, put forth by Susanna and Emmett Sheehan, requests $125,000 in CPA monies to restore and preserve the early-18th century barn. Emmett Sheehan, who manages the North Hill Country Club near where the barn is located, brought Ian Ellison, owner of Ellison Timberframes of Cape Cod, to speak on behalf of the project. Ellison, a master timberframer and preservation specialist, said there are few barns of this age left in the United States.
“It’s happening all over the country,” said Ellison. “People cannot afford to restore the barns. They’re disappearing.”
Ellison said 90 percent of the frame would remain, as would much of the interior boards and roof. In such a restoration, said Ellison, he would use boards and timber culled from similarly-aged structures to replace rotted parts.
Sheehan said if restored, the barn would be used as originally intended -- for storage. Specifically, golf carts would be stored there in the winter and the harbormaster has requested that two of his department’s boats be stored in the barn during the offseason.
Though the requested amount wouldn’t be sufficient to fully restore the barn, Sheehan said he would commit an in-kind contribution in the amount of $30,000 through his companies, Eagle’s Nest Tree and Landscaping and Pilgrim Golf, LLC, primarily to rebuild the barn’s stone foundation. The Sheehans also proposed hosting two fundraisers to help defray restoration costs.
CBC member Holly Morris asked Sheehan, “We’re approximating it’s going to cost about $175,000 in total?”
Sheehan, who was involved in the restoration of two other historic Duxbury properties, the Bluefish River Fire House and the Tarkiln Community Center, said, “If a problem arose, it would be on our backs. We would take care of that.”
Board member Pat Loring expressed her reservations about the proposal, questioning its benefit to the whole of Duxbury.
“It isn’t a part of our streetscape,” said Loring.
Another item discussed at the meeting was the ongoing restoration of the Isaac Keene House by the nonprofit Crossroads for Kids. An appropriation in the amount of $205,000 was requested.
Former CPC chairman Ed McGlinchey questioned the current board about Crossroads’ funding request, noting the not-for-profit had holdings of approximately $10 million according to its IRS filings.
“I don’t have a problem with CPA grant money contributing to a nonprofit program, but (the monies) shouldn’t be a significant part of it,” said McGlinchey. “I’m concerned about them seeking subsequent funds. Providing seed money is fine, but we shouldn’t be the 50- or 60-percent participant in some of these programs.”
CPC board members Loring and Norman Tucker expressed concern that previous funding to restore the Keene barn was used to install basement windows that conflicted with the historical integrity of the circa-1870 building. Members voted to hold payment on a previously approved disbursement because of those windows until representatives from Crossroads had a chance to respond to the committee’s questions. No representative from the charity was in attendance.
Other funding requests to the board were from the Duxbury Rural and Historical Society for $37,000 to pay for reconstruction of chimneys at the Winsor House; restoration of the Duxbury Free Library’s front entrance; and $35,000 from the First Meeting house Committee for an archeological excavation.
Members of the Community Preservation Committee will meet again on December 15 to vote on all applications.