Mattapoisett’s Community Preservation Act Committee met on January 31 to interview three applicants for CPA grant funding. These three groups were given the opportunity to present their requests, submit additional documentation and address questions poised to them by the committee in advance of the presentations.
The Mattapoisett Christian Church, better known as the Mattapoisett Museum, came before the committee requesting $47,598 for exterior repairs to the building facing Church Street. Speaking on behalf of the application were Historical Society trustees Jack Hill and Doug Schneider. Schneider gave a brief history of the relationship between the Historical Society, the Christian Church and the museum.
Schneider said that the church benefited from a trust given to them on the passing of Edward Faunce in the 1950s. The purpose of the trust was to provide funds for the continuation of the church and the building.
At the same time, the Historical Society was looking for a place to keep their growing collection. They would contract to lease the church and build the carriage house. The lease was $1 for the building and another $1 for the structure. In the early 1980s, a 99-year lease was drafted between the Historical Society and the church for the same sums. The church would have control of the church space and the society of the carriage house.
Fast forward to 2023: The exterior clapboards are deteriorating on the west side of the structure, a portion of the roof needs repair and railings need to be installed.
The Mattapoisett Historical Commission, not to be confused with the Historical Society (a private entity), is requesting $15,000 to continue their work on performing an independent survey of historic structures, features and spaces in the community.
Historical Commission Chairperson Rachel McGourthy said that a grant awarded at Town Meeting last year began the process of securing a consultant in the area of historic surveys, a primary responsibility for local commission as charged by the Massachusetts Historical Commission.
McGourthy said that a matching grant was being requested for the MHC, bringing the full sum to $30,000, which will allow the consultant to complete the survey. In all, she said it was a three-year process.
The commission has been working with Christopher Skully (formerly of the MHC), their consultant in identifying structures and features in the community. She said that 92 high-priority structures and features have been identified and heretofore have not been listed on the MHC’s older surveys. One such structure was Town Hall, and spaces such as the Holy Ghost Grounds and Homestead Court would now be placed on the list.
There was a cautionary note, however, when McGourthy said that structures being placed on the town’s register and archived by the state did not protect it from demolition.
Also coming before the CPA was Ray Andrews and Richard Langoff of the American Legion Post and Veteran’s Agent Chris Gerrior, requesting $40,000 for ADA-compliant repairs for the Legion hall. Gerrior said of the history of the building that it began life in 1867 as the Pine Island School and was later sold and moved to its current location at the intersection of Depot Street and Railroad Avenue.
Andrews said that the members had searched for other funding sources but found the majority of veteran-related grants were in support of food, housing and medical programs.
Regarding local schools, Andrews said that Old Colony and Upper Cape regional vocational-technical high schools may both be sources for free construction services.
After all applications have been thoroughly vetted, the committee will rank the requests, giving support where they deem the applicants have adequately supported their need for financial assistance.
The Mattapoisett Community Preservation Act Committee will continue the interview process of grant applicants on Tuesday, February 13, at 5:30 pm.
Mattapoisett Community Preservation Act Committee
By Marilou Newell