Middleboro: Voters at town meeting quickly okay spending $700,000 for the town and have a lengthy debate over a 7-foot cross

Middleboro Special Town meeting spent more time debating a 7-foot brick cross than it did spending over $700,000 for computers, new police weapons, a school bus and sick-leave buy back.

The 50-year-old landmark drew contentious debate when resident Jeff Stevens said, “This is not a Middleboro problem”.

The 7-foot cross sits on a traffic island on Route 28; and town meeting gave selectmen the authority to turn the island over to a private organization to avoid the ire of civil rights activists.

Stevens lobbied town meeting to stay out of the fray, fearing the town will become embroiled in a lawsuit threatened by the American Civil Liberties Union

Chairman of the Selectman Stephen McKinnon said the town isn’t violating the state’s anti-aid amendment by turning the property over to a private organization that will maintain the cross.

Town meeting supported putting the traffic island in private hands 228 to 10.

Robert Kinney, president of the local Kiwanis Club, said the group will take a vote to accept the property. If that fails, he says a nonprofit foundation to maintain the 7-foot cross will be established.

 

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