On October 24, the Mattapoisett Board of Selectmen met with Mattapoisett Free Public Library Director Susan Pizzolato and several library trustees to discuss plans for improvements and upgrades to the library’s functionality.
Pizzolato explained that with the help of the trustees, she has been working with a consultant to evaluate the effective and efficient use of the interior library spaces and furnishings. One area of specific concern was the lack of meeting space for both library activities and meetings and other community groups, she said.
Pizzolato said the marine resource room, which houses one-of-a-kind research materials and historic documents, could be used for smaller group meetings if the shelves containing precious items had glass doors that could be locked. She said that donors of valuable items and future donors would be more inclined to give the library their collections if there was an added level of security. Presently, she only allows the room to be used when a library staff member can be present to ensure security of the materials in the room.
Other proposed improvements include fixtures that allow for easier tutorial activities such as computer training. Pizzolato said that the circulation desk in the children’s room is not ADA compliant and that the desk should be modified to allow the children better access to library staff, as well as those using equipment such as wheelchairs.
Pizzolato has developed a conceptual plan with the assistance of the consultant and will continue to work with the trustees and the consultant over the next few months. She hopes to have a number of line items completed over the coming 15 to 24 months.
In other matters, Town Administrator Michael Gagne said that additional shellfishing areas have been approved for opening in the Brandt Island area. This is the result of successful farming activities that took place in the Taunton River with monies received from the Bouchard oil spill settlement. The exact location of this area can be found on the Town’s website.
Regarding the next cycle of budgetary planning for the Old Rochester Regional School District, Gagne said preliminary discussions have begun between the Tri-Town administrators, at which time they will also evaluate funding potential for the videography program for high school students that are held at ORCTV studios.
This prompted Selectman Paul Silva to ask if there was any way to gauge subscriber value of the programming received from the community access system. He said that currently Comcast and Verizon cable subscribers pay a 4 percent surcharge on their cable bills for the programming available on the community access channel. Gagne said it was possible to enlist the assistance of UMass Dartmouth to perform a telephone outreach survey to capture that data directly from subscribers.
Silva also asked if it was possible to find a way to give the ORR School District guidance as they begin the budgetary process. Gagne will follow-up.
Gagne reported that the town is moving forward in pursuit of a grant from the state dubbed a Boating Improvement Grant from monies collected by the state on marine and related fuel taxes. Managed by the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries and part of the U.S. Fishing & Wildlife Services/Sports Fishing Restoration Program, the grant allows for the construction of transient boater wharf facilities. Gagne said that construction of the visitor addition is currently proposed for the end of Long Wharf and would also include a floating dock.
Gagne said that any boater, including Mattapoisett residents who trailer their boats, would be allowed to use these spaces for periods of time to enjoy the village commercial offerings. He said he wanted to start the permitting process in January 2018 with the hope of being ready for a 2019 construction cycle. The grant would be in the amount of $180,000 with an additional 25 percent coming from the town. A Town Meeting warrant article may be presented to the voters during the 2018 Spring Town Meeting.
Gagne said he has been working with SRPEDD to review the issues and challenges along the Route 6 corridor from the Stop & Shop in Fairhaven to Main Street in Wareham. He said he is also working with the regional planning agency on smaller projects specific to Mattapoisett from Main Street to North Street, such as street striping. Gagne extended an invitation to all businesses encouraging owners to participate in discussions.
The town has received a grant, thanks to the efforts of Town Clerk Catherine Heuberger, to have an archivist work with the Clerk’s Office to understand the needs of the community’s archives and how to preserve historic records. The grant was awarded by the Massachusetts State Historic Records Administration Board and the National Historic Publications and Records Commission.
Gagne also mentioned that the Council on Aging will be holding an informational seminar on effective communication between caregivers and those suffering from dementia-related illnesses. The presentation will take place at the C.O.A. located in Center School on November 7 at 10:00 am.
A Medicare Open Enrollment workshop will also be held at the C.O.A. on October 26 at 4:00 pm. The program will be videotaped and uploaded to the Town’s website.
Community Preservation Act grant applications are now being accepted. Deadline for submission is November 15. All approved grants will be prepared for inclusion in the spring 2018 Annual Town Meeting. Additional information and applications are available on the Town’s webpage.
To access the Town of Mattapoisett website, go to www.mattapoisett.net.
And last, but not least, Gagne reminded everyone that the annual Halloween Parade will step off from Center School on Tuesday, October 31 at 6:00 pm.
The next meeting of the Mattapoisett Board of Selectmen is scheduled for November 14 at 6:30 pm in the town hall conference room.
Mattapoisett Board of Selectmen
By Marilou Newell