Replacing a dinghy dock, digitizing town photographs and records, and addressing accessibility at Bourne Town Hall are all the subject of funding requests made Tuesday, September 3, to the Bourne Community Preservation Committee.
If the committee signs off on the requests, they will go before the October 21 Special Town Meeting, which will decide whether to fund them.
The Bourne Department of Natural Resources requested $38,000 to help pay for replacement of the dinghy dock at Barlows Landing Beach.
The Bourne Town Archives sought $28,000 to continue digitizing town photographs, records and documents.
Town Administrator Thomas M. Guerino filed an application for $40,000 to improve accessibility to Bourne Town Hall.
The community preservation committee took the applications under advisement at its meeting Tuesday, September 3.
In regard to the dinghy dock, DNR Director Christopher M. Southwood told the committee that the current dock has proven to be dangerous to users, and costly to the town.
“I hate to use the word disaster, but it’s unsafe,” he said. “It causes issues: people have slipped and fallen off it. We’ve had thousands of dollars in repairs to it every year.”
A request for an equal amount will be made to the capital outlay committee, Mr. Southwood said. He said that the project was approved for $95,000 in CPA funds as part of the Fiscal Year 2018 town budget. It has also been approved for $100,000 from the capital outlay committee.
The project was put out to bid, but the lowest bid came in $50,000 higher than had been appropriated, Mr. Southwood said. He mentioned that design plans for the new dock have been approved, and permits are in place.
At this point, he said, it is just a matter of financing to get the project underway. The hope, he said, is to put the project back out to bid sometime this winter, and have the new dock installed in the spring.
The department has completed a number of projects at Barlows Landing Beach, Mr. Southwood said, including re-grassing some areas, and installing a small wall to hold the beach in place. He said the work done has delighted residents, and the dinghy dock will be the next piece in improving the beach.
“I think this’ll be the jewel of it down there, and I think everyone will enjoy it,” he said.
The committee also heard from Jean M. Campbell and Gioia L. Dimock with the Bourne Town Archives. A request has been put in for $28,000 to continue working with Digital Commonwealth on storage of town photographs, records and documents, Ms. Campbell said.
At its website, Digital Commonwealth describes itself as a site “that provides access to photographs, manuscripts, books, audio recordings, and other materials of historical interest that have been digitized and made available by members of Digital Commonwealth.” The membership, of which Bourne is a part, is “a statewide consortium of libraries, museums, archives, and historical societies from across Massachusetts.”
Ms. Campbell explained that visitors to the Digital Commonwealth website can click on a member town and immediately access its digitized images. She said that all of the yearbooks for Bourne High School have already been placed at the website, along with some photographs and documents.
The CPA funding would go toward training with Digital Commonwealth personnel, as well as new computers and software upgrades, Ms. Campbell said.
The third request committee members reviewed was an application for $40,000 to improve accessibility to Bourne Town Hall. Speaking on behalf of the town, Mr. Johnson pointed out that the building’s front steps are “in poor repair.” The side steps date back to the 1940s, and a back ramp needs to be upgraded, he said.
A number of other funding requests were put off to a future meeting. No decisions were made on each application reviewed. Committee chairman Barry H. Johnson said the meeting was solely for the purpose of “fact-finding.”
The committee is preparing an article containing one or more of the funding proposals to be included on the Special Town Meeting warrant.
No decisions were made on the requests reviewed. The committee plans to go over several other proposals at its next meeting, scheduled for 6 PM, Monday, September 16, at Bourne Middle School.
Those requests include: $80,000 for a new town park opposite the Pocasset River Marina; $98,676 for improvements to disabled access at the Pocasset Community Center; and $50,000 to conduct an engineering evaluation as the first step toward improving water quality at Hen Cove.
Preservation Act funds come from a 3 percent surcharge on a resident’s annual real estate tax bill. The funds generated can be spent on several types of projects—historic preservation, open space/recreation, and affordable housing.
Mr. Johnson noted that there is $501,625 that can be used for open space/recreation; $228,928 for historic preservation; $58,898 for affordable housing; and $930,685 as undesignated. He noted that no applications have been submitted under the housing designation.
All the submitted applications fall under the designations of open space/recreation and historic preservation only, Mr. Johnson said. All of the open space/recreation requests total $448,400, while the historic preservation requests come to $176,676, he said.
The committee also chose not to take any action on a request from the Cataumet Methodist Church on a request for $10,000 in CPA funds for repairs to the church’s steeple. The church had also requested an extension of the committee’s application deadline. Their application was submitted past the cutoff date of August 16, Mr. Johnson said.
Members said they wanted an opinion from Town Counsel Robert S. Troy on whether a religious institution can be the recipient of town funds.