The placement of a utility pole in the redesigned Gus Canty Community Center parking lot drew the ire of the Edward Marks Building Advisory Committee.
“There is appreciable consternation about the placement of the lamp stanchions,” committee chairwoman Barbara M. Weyand said at its Thursday, September 12, meeting. “No joke, it is right outside the building.”
Ms. Weyand said she was “shocked at how close it was.”
“It is hard to believe we need a pole in that location,” she said.
Committee member Edward J. Haddad said while the pole has not be installed yet, once it is it will be right next to the former poor house.
“If you were putting in a light at town hall, you wouldn’t put it right against the building,” Mr. Haddad said. “Who was looking at these plans with respect to the poor house when they were approved? No one.”
He said wrote to deputy director of public works Peter M. McConarty about the pole’s placement, as was referred to town planner Thomas Bott and assistant town manager Peter Johnson-Staub.
“It was obviously put together before the restoration committee was formed,” Mr. Haddad said. “No one looked at it critically.”
Committee members agreed they needed to make a statement on the pole’s placement now, as final paving has not occurred at the site.
“If there is a chance for any change, it has to be immediate,” Ms. Weyand said.
Selectman Douglas C. Brown said the pole was probably placed there as part of the town’s effort to provide better parking for the Falmouth Police Station. This project also included the reconfiguration of the parking lot behind the police station, the installation of a wider driveway and the relocation of the Falmouth Police memorial.
“They are desperate for parking,” Mr. Brown said.
While the need for parking is important, Ms. Weyand said the design is emblematic of a larger problem.
“You know what happens, the squeeze goes on the historical thing,” she said. “Now, it is less important than losing two parking spots.”
Mr. Brown said the impact on the Marks Building was probably not considered during the review of the redesigned parking lot.
“I think the only review was in a parking context, not a historical context,” Mr. Brown said, noting the lighting was likely appropriate for parking purposes.
Located at 744 Main Street, the Edward Marks Jr. Building is the oldest municipally-owned building in Falmouth. Dating back to 1769, the building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1997 and is one of the last remaining former poor houses in Massachusetts.
It will be used as the future home of the Falmouth Human Services department, which currently rents space on Town Hall Square.