Acushnet Historical Commission Grapples with Preservation and Infrastructure Challenges

In a recent Acushnet Historical Commission meeting, members engaged in a multifaceted discussion surrounding the preservation of historical buildings, infrastructure projects, and financial challenges. Key issues included the potential sale of the old library, efforts to list a church on the National Historic Register, debates on the upkeep of historical properties, and concerns regarding the heating and thermostat systems in a building.

The fate of the old library was a central topic, with members deliberating on its future use and the potential for it to be turned into a business, despite concerns over limited parking and accessibility. The building’s status as an “eyesore” and “liability” was highlighted, alongside debates on its market value and the significant repairs needed. The discussion revealed the commission’s frustration with the slow progress in selling the building and the perceived inaction over the last three years.

The commission also tackled the subject of a church’s inclusion on the National Historic Register. The conversation raised concerns about the building inspector’s requirements, particularly the need for multiple bathrooms, and the challenges in securing grants for preservation work. The discussion extended to the historical integrity of the building, with opinions divided on whether alterations had affected its significance.

Infrastructure concerns were not confined to the historical buildings. The meeting addressed infrastructure projects, focusing on the replacement of bridges and the maintenance of the Hamin Street Bridge. The condition of a local mill and the lack of support from the Kush and Haven Land Trust were also mentioned, signaling broader issues with maintaining and upgrading the town’s infrastructure.

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Financial constraints were a recurring theme throughout the meeting. A debate about the costs of moving a veterans monument brought to light the commission’s financial limitations, with estimates for the move ranging from $5,000 to $10,000. The commission’s budget was further strained by increased expenses for oil, with speculation that tampering with thermostat settings might be causing the excessive oil usage. The necessity of selling a building due to its condition and the high tax rates in the town were also discussed, with the affordability of living in Acushnet being questioned.

The commission deliberated on the submission of articles for the upcoming town meeting. Items proposed included a request for funds to list the Paral Church on the National Historic Register and for a new fence at the museum. The commission planned to reach out to a State Representative for potential assistance in these matters.

Preservation efforts extended beyond buildings, as members discussed safeguarding old pictures and documents vital to the town’s history. This included obtaining pictures of the old meeting house and the triangle on Main Street. The potential project of writing a history book about the town was briefly considered.

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In the realm of practical issues, the commission analyzed the heating and thermostat systems in one of their buildings. Debates centered on whether to shut off the upstairs heating or eliminate thermostats altogether due to concerns about uneven heating and excessive energy use.

Note: This meeting summary was generated by AI, which can occasionally misspell names, misattribute actions, and state inaccuracies. This summary is intended to be a starting point and you should review the meeting record linked above before acting on anything you read. If we got something wrong, let us know. We’re working every day to improve our process in pursuit of universal local government transparency.

Town Administrator:
James Kelley
Historic Preservation Commission Officials:
Pauline Teixeira, Lori Bates, Madeline Gwozdz, Richard Gwozdz, John Larsen, Richard Mercier, Nancy Viveiros

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