The Hanson Community Preservation Committee (CPC) held their annual public forum Wednesday night to discuss the needs of the town, past successes, current projects, and future goals.
The CPC is currently starting to compile a “vision” going forward in finding and approving projects.
Laura Fitzgerald-Kemmett, CPC member at large, says she thinks this will “keep them honest.”
“When we’re reviewing projects in the future, we’ll of course harken back and say ‘is this consistent with our vision’,” Fitzgerald-Kemmett said, “And if it isn’t, it probably will be less likely that that project will get passed onto Town Meeting.”
Fitzgerald-Kemmett added that she and other CPC members have been participating in regional CPA sessions with other local towns. She says Marilee Kenney-Hunt, Bridgewater CPC Chair and a “mentor” for Hanson CPC pulled this group together.
“Really it was because of that meeting that we thought, we’re hearing from her how important having a Community Preservation vision and plan is, ” Fitzgerald-Kemmett said, ”We started talking to other groups…and we thought, ‘that’s something we should probably do’.”
According to Fitzgerald-Kemmett, the “vision” will include developing a Master Plan, working to prioritize youth sports groups’ needs, “revamping” the application process, and developing a sign template for projects.
Although the CPC does not have a vision in place yet, they have began several interesting projects for the town with collaborative efforts.
The Hanson Youth Baseball and the Open Space Committee have “combined forces” to fund the rehabilitation of fields at the Botieri Field Complex, conduct a survey of the Town Forest, and improve the adjoining parking lot.
Fitzgerald-Kemmett added that this project would not have been possible before the CPA funds usage change in June, 2012. ”Before that, unless we had purchased those ball fields with Community Preservation money, we would not have been able to rehabilitate them,” she said.
Phil Clemons, Open Space Committee Chair, says the project is entirely funded by CPA funds. He and Robert O’Brien, Parks and Fields Commission member, have seen the opportunity to really collaborate on this.
“For a long time, the Town Forrest Committee has wanted to clarify where the boundaries were between other town facilities…and the baseball field folks have wanted to not only expand the ball field, but improve the old ones and have everything work together in that neighborhood,” Clemons said.
Clemons added that he and O’Brien were discussed these things about a year ago. “We realized we can do both of these things at the same time and make the neighborhood much more inviting for everybody,” Clemons said.
Clemons said the survey work will start within a month or so. According to O’Brien, the ball-field work will most likely begin in August of this year.
Fitzgerald-Kemmett calls this particular project “beautiful,” and she’d like to see more groups working together like this.
Other current projects include the purchase of the 115 acre Stone Property, The Bonney House Siding Project an outdoor recreation area outside the Whitman-Hanson Regional High School, and a book scanner for public accessibility and preservation of documents.