The Town House looks like a meteor landed at its front door, but the project donated by the Sippican Historical Society at a potential cost of $250,000 is one of many moving parts that can or cannot be seen as Marion tries to beat the clock in a number of matters crucial to the community.
The Marion Board of Selectmen met on Tuesday at the Music Hall, where plans for key events in October and November were rolled out.
The selectmen voted to close Spring Street between Cottage Street and Main Street from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm Saturday, October 17, for the long-awaited unveiling of the Elizabeth Taber Statue.
Meantime, Town Administrator Jay McGrail talked with Old Rochester Regional Superintendent of Schools Mike Nelson and arrived at a plan to hold the November 9 Special Town Meeting at the ORR High School auditorium with the gymnasium and cafeteria as storage spaces.
“Sippican (School) wouldn’t have enough space,” said McGrail, who said typical attendance for a special town meeting ranges between 90 and 160 people. ORR can host over 100 people. “This will probably be on the low side. If we hit the 60 (or) 70 number at Sippican, we’d have trouble.”
The meeting will be held at 6:45 pm on November 9, and McGrail said the bylaw says it can be held anywhere in the Tri-Town. ORR is situated on Route 6 just over the line into Mattapoisett.
Among items on the agenda for November 9 will be discussion and vote on Marion’s withdrawal from the Carver Marion Wareham Regional Refuse Disposal District. A town meeting vote is required before January 1 in order to do so.
Later in Tuesday’s meeting, McGrail would note that the inaugural meeting of Water/Sewer Commissioners is scheduled for Thursday, September 24. The first part will address water and the second part sewer.
Donna Hemphill appeared before the selectmen at a 4:10 pm appointment to discuss an outdoor Veterans Day Ceremony for Wednesday, November 11. Because the state has opened up, albeit with limits and capacities, Marion is taking its opportunity to do something more. “Donna’s done a great job coming up with a hybrid event,” said McGrail.
“We can’t do the normal thing,” said Hemphill, but there will be a plan weather permitting for an event at Old Landing. “We’re working on details.”
In building a presentation around a luncheon for veterans, Hemphill suggested Board of Selectmen Chairperson Randy Parker as master of ceremonies, adding a guest speaker, and laying a wreath.
The work recently done by Jodie Dickinson and Karen Gregory with lunches at the Council on Aging and the approval of the Board of Health functions to inform how to put together tables at safe, social distance. Veterans planning to attend would respond in advance. The COA will handle the luncheon; Hemphill will organize the ceremony.
“The main idea behind this is we wanted to find a way to honor the veterans… I think we can pull it off,” said McGrail, who said he will consider scenarios in the event of rain.
“Rain or shine outside, we would have a number of tents set up,” said Hemphill. “Hopefully, it won’t be too cold. I think it’s important for us to continue the tradition that the VFW set up.”
As for the Special Town Meeting, the selectmen will vote to close the warrant at their Tuesday, September 29 meeting to be held at Sippican School. The meeting is being held there to accommodate an expected crowd for the joint meeting with the Marion Marine Resources Commission at which the latter will present the Harbormaster’s Facility Feasibility Study. The meeting will also address the MOSAC Open Space article for the Special Town Meeting. McGrail said he will send the draft of the warrant to the selectmen by Friday, September 25.
In other action items, the board approved several Music Hall-related requests.
Marcus Monteiro was appointed to the Music Hall Advisory Committee.
The Music Hall Advisory Committee made requests regarding funds from the Music Hall Endowment Account and from the Music Hall Restoration Trust Account.
The first request is to set up an account with a minimum of $10,000 and a $15,000 cap in the Town Trust “to take care of things,” said McGrail, who met with Judy Rosbe from Sippican Historical Trust. “We fund an employee through that account… so we know we’ll have the funds.”
The second request is for an annual contribution of $300 for maintenance from the Music Hall Restorations Trust Account earmarked for annual planting. This is not for town maintenance, but annual capital expenditures.
The third request is for an amount not to exceed $5,000 to repair the brick walkway out front of the Music Hall.
All the requests were approved, and any discussion of the area around the Music Hall brings up the issue of the crosswalk on Front Street that ends in the middle of the intersection with Island Wharf Road.
“The crosswalks need fixing,” said selectman Norm Hills, to which selectman John Waterman agreed. “It makes no sense,” he said, calling it “the crosswalk to nowhere.”
Discussion ensued as well on the location of the sign outside the Music Hall.
The board approved the appointment of Minhtram Tran to the Marion Affordable Housing Trust. “Looks like she’d be a big helper,” said Hills, who had met Tran as a member of the Affordable Housing Trust.
Water/sewer commitments from September 16-17 included $400 for new service, $5,327.68 for quarterly bill, $4,151.41 for final reading. All three were approved by the board.
Selectmen’s goals that were on Tuesday’s agenda will be shared as an action item in next week’s meeting.
Marion will hold its first-ever Flu Clinic at the Community Center from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm on Thursday, October 8. The event was proposed by Lori Desmarais, the new public health nurse. The flu clinic functions as a dry run at a test for COVID-19 inoculation.
The next meeting of the Marion Board of Selectmen is scheduled for Tuesday, September 29, at 7:00 pm at Sippican School auditorium.
Marion Board of Selectmen
By Mick Colageo