The Community Preservation Committee this week awarded a $15,000 grant to help update the town’s 2002 historic preservation plan—which identifies and sets maintenance priorities for Sandwich’s historic properties.
Specifically, the administrative grant will go toward hiring a consultant to update the town’s inventory of historic assets—such as buildings and open space areas—and to delineate the challenges those assets might face in the future from natural disasters or development.
“The previous historic preservation plan was done 20 years ago and they were not thinking about flooding and erosion,” said Lisa Hassler, chairman of the Sandwich Historical Commission, which submitted the grant request. “It will be a blueprint for the next 20 years and will outlast anyone’s membership on a volunteer committee.”
Ms. Hassler told the preservation committee that she is hoping the Massachusetts Historical Commission will match the $15,000 local grant. The state’s grant awards will be announced in mid-December, Ms. Hassler said.
The application must be made by November 18, according to the submission document.
The preservation committee voted unanimously to award the administrative grant at its meeting on Monday, November 4.
“It will be a good way to measure people’s feelings about historic preservation,” newly elected committee chairman Robert King said of the preservation plan process.
The 2002 historic preservation plan was prepared by Neil Larson & Associates of Woodstock, New York.
The 72-page document, which is available on the town website, briefly outlines Sandwich’s history, discusses the origins of the town’s historic districts and identifies assets that should be preserved.
The list, which includes sites that no longer exist or have fallen into disrepair, includes Sandwich Town Hall, the First Unitarian Church at the corner of Main and River streets, the old freezer plant at the marina, the Clark-Haddad Building, the Roberti Dairy Farm, the Deacon Eldred House, and the Sandwich Public Library.
Ms. Hassler said that since the previous plan was written, other sites have turned 50 and become eligible for historic designation.
The town’s planning and development department is a co-applicant for the Massachusetts Historical Commission matching grant.
The planning department, members of the community, the Sandwich Historical Commission and other town officials and interested residents could be tapped to help with the updated preservation plan, Ms. Hassler said.
The plan update could take at least a year, she added.
The previous study’s consultant was assisted by a planning team of five residents, the historical commission, the town archives and other historical materials, town historians and various surveys and two community workshops, according to the 2002 preservation plan.
“The goals of this plan strive to engage Sandwich residents, policymakers and visitors in the appreciation and preservation of our historic resources,” the plan authors wrote. “A foundation of the planning process was public involvement.”