The Community Preservation Committee at its meeting Thursday night reviewed several applications for fiscal year 2025, one of which was revised after receiving the committee’s input in August.
Representatives from the Historical Society said the group decided to modify its funding request after receiving CPC feedback in late August.
The original goal of the project was to protect the historical archives housed in the building’s basement at 168 Hayden Rowe Street. An internal drainage system was proposed to help pump water from the basement and improve humidity levels there.
Water seepage had caused up to 150 gallons of water to be removed from the basement per week.
While the original proposal focused on the internal water damage to the building, Dan McIntyre explained that it is more imperative to focus on the building’s footprint and exterior. He has been assisting Historical Society members “on the technical aspects of trying to keep their basement dry.”
After conducting test pits at the building’s exterior, he discovered that the perimeter footing drain was not functioning properly. In some instances, it had not been constructed to the original specifications, causing sagging in the pipes.
The modified request will require excavation around the perimeter of the building to replace the footing drain. Drainage mats will be installed at the foundation walls to “keep the water from going into the building in the first place.”
McIntyre added that there are wetlands behind the building that have been flagged. He intends to go before the Conservation Commission to seek its approval for the proposed work. The project would not be able to begin until the summer.
Current estimates for the project are $150,000 and $230,000. McIntyre said follow-up quotes would be requested in the spring.
Members questioned if there were other factors that led to the difference in bids. Vice chair Eric Sonnett said he was “reluctant” to advise the Historical Commission of a target bid.
CPC chair Ken Weismantel said that the $230,000 amount can be used for now and “refined” before the CPC’s vote on Dec. 19.
Conservation restrictions for Rice Woods, Hughes property reviewed
The Hopkinton Area Land Trust jointly requested with the Open Space Preservation Commission $10,210 from the open space fund for the conservation restriction for Rice Woods, also referred to as the Jenner property. It is being discussed for purchase by the town.
HALT also requested $10,000 from either the open space or recreation buckets for a conservation restriction on the Hughes property. It is located off of Hayden Rowe Street.
Member and OSPC liaison Steve Levandosky said these requests were initial steps to ensure preservation of the land.
Planning Board liaison Jane Moran asked if there was language in these conservation restrictions regarding a parking lot area. Levandosky explained that the Jenner property is “landlocked” by Hopkinton State Park and other land with conservation restrictions. Language about parking could be included in the Hughes property request.
Weismantel said a dump truck on the Hughes property needs to be removed, as well as a storage shed currently being used by the Trails Committee. He noted that the shed’s former purpose was to store hazardous waste until it could be removed, and that Town Meeting authorized its demolition.
Parks & Rec storage shed request discussed
Parks & Recreation Director John Lewitus appeared before the committee with Parks & Rec Commission chair Dan Terry with a placeholder request of $30,000 for a storage shed at Fruit Street near the new pickleball/tennis courts.
Lewitus noted the soaring popularity of pickleball, which he also observed in his previous positions in Brookline and Sharon. A larger shed would allow for storage of equipment such as a leaf blower along with sport equipment. Some sports equipment potentially could be stored there for community use.
Members noted that the shed should not have windows and should have a strong door and locking system to prevent theft.
Money for historic headstone repair requested
Tom Pratt, chair of the Cemetery Commission, requested $20,000 for the repair of damaged historic headstones. The commission, he said, typically requests $20,000 per year because the cost of the work is $275 per headstone.
The following year’s request may have to be increased because the commission found that some headstones have tree roots embedded in them. Trees may need to be removed.
Upcoming meeting will discuss open space requests
The next CPC meeting on Nov. 21 will be to discuss requests that Weismantel called “the tough ones.” They involve a joint OSPC and Trails Committee request to purchase two properties owned by Eversource located at and to the south of Berry Acres for a trail connection. He noted that Eversource has indicated that it is not willing to sell the land.
The two groups also jointly filed a request to purchase land owned by MetroWest Holdings near the Milford border. The town is researching whether the land can be taken because of back taxes owed.