Council Approves Preservation Project At Hyannis Library

The Barnstable Town Council last evening voted unanimously to approve spending $135,315 for the historic preservation of the Ora A. Hinckley section of the Hyannis Public Library at 401 Main Street.

The council authorized Community Preservation Act funding for document preservation, site work, building construction, sill replacements, window work, painting trim and storm windows, and the rebuilding of the chimney.

The building, named for the first full-time librarian at the Hyannis library, dates from 1750.

The work on the structure, owned privately by the library, will be secured by a historic restriction held on behalf of the Town of Barnstable.Lindsey B. Counsell, chairman of the Barnstable Community Preservation Committee, which voted unanimously in March to recommend the work, called the proposal “an important project.”

Mr. Counsell and Joan Kenney, president of the library board of trustees, said the work was badly needed to preserve the structure and address potential building safety issues.

Ms. Kenney said the library hopes to complete the preservation work within the next three to four months.

Carol Saunders, director of the library, said the Hinckley section is part of the Hyannis library’s daily operations, including providing space for large-print books and for tutoring.

Visitors from around the world enjoy taking tours through the section, according to Ms. Saunders.

“We just need to keep it going,” she said.

Councilor Jennifer L. Cullum of Hyannis, who co-sponsored the proposal along with Barnstable Town Manager Thomas K. Lynch on behalf of the preservation committee, said the Hyannis library “really is the heartbeat of our Main Street.”

“The Hyannis library needs a little gas in the tank,” Ms. Cullum said. “Hyannis needs some help on this one.”

In other action at last night’s council meeting, assistant town manager Mark Ells, the town’s representative on the Cape Cod Water Protection Collaborative, gave a presentation on the collaborative, which consists of representatives from the Cape’s 15 towns and two representatives appointed by the Barnstable County commissioners.

Mr. Ells said the collaborative seeks to help attract state and federal funds for regional water issues, encourage education on water protection issues, and assist towns in developing comprehensive water management plans.

“There’s a feeling we’re not accomplishing as much as we want to, given the magnitude of the problem,” Mr. Ells said.

In response to a question from councilor Ann B. Canedy of Barnstable Village, Mr. Ells said the collaborative could help provide a springboard for shared water management projects between Barnstable and Yarmouth, or Barnstable and Mashpee.

Councilor Jessica Rapp Grassetti of Cotuit asked Mr. Ells to request that the collaborative address the issue of how to pay for the installation of sewers.

“We all know we have to clean up our water,” Ms. Rapp Grassetti said. “It has to be shared throughout the town.”

But councilor June M. Daley of Marstons Mills took a different view.

“My constituents don’t believe in paying for someone else’s sewer,” Ms. Daley said. “Not all of us look at the picture in the same way.”

Councilor Cullum, whose precinct includes the area where sewers were installed to protect Stewart’s Creek, said many of the affected residents felt very confused by the way the project was handled.

“I believe it was mostly a marketing problem by the town,” Ms. Cullum said.

She said similar projects in the future need better ways to get information out to people who are not necessarily familiar with navigating the Internet.

Councilor Janet S. Joakim of Centerville, who suggesting placing printed materials at local libraries on water protection issues, also recommended that the collaborative examine the effect of private applications of fertilizer on water quality around the Cape.

The council also scheduled a public hearing for its October 18 meeting on a zoning change designed to address the storage of commercial fertilizers.

The new zoning would prohibit such storage unless the material is placed in a structure designed to prevent the escape of commercial fertilizers into the groundwater under any circumstances.

The Hyannis Water Board requested the amendment, which has been recommended by the Barnstable Planning Board to the town council for adoption.

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