By Carol Britton Meyer
By a narrow margin, Special Town Meeting voters supported the $5.5 million purchase of a parcel of land on Lincoln Street for potential use as a combined Hingham Police and Fire Department public safety building.
This paves the way for a possible much-needed expansion of the senior center to serve the town's growing older population -- into the space currently occupied by the police station -- if the project moves to completion.
Because a borrowing is involved, a two-thirds vote was required. Of the 453 voters present, 314 supported the purchase, while 139 did not.
The socially-distanced meeting was held outside on the Hingham High School multi-purpose athletic field due to COVID-19. The weather was unseasonably mild, with temperatures in the mid- to high-50s and some sunshine.
The total cost of the proposed public safety facility project -- with the most recent estimate at about $35 million -- was not the subject of this Special Town Meeting vote -- nor were voters asked to approve or to fund the building of the facility at this time. The cost would be lower if the scope and size of the project changes.
More details will be available as the process unfolds.
Thanksgiving is a Special Time of Year
By Carol Britton Meyer
Thanksgiving continues to be a once-a-year opportunity to express gratitude for all that we have and to share a delicious dinner -- for some, turkey with all the fixings and for others, like my niece, a variety of vegan dishes -- and good times with family and friends, even if in a smaller group than usual.
This year's celebrations will be different because of COVID-19, but nothing can stop the usual expressions of love, generosity, and goodwill -- sending a card to a friend who doesn't get out a whole lot, telling him or her how much they mean to us; donating a variety of items to the local food pantry; and spreading a little cheer wherever we go, regardless of the circumstances.
The fact that these are strange times indeed somehow makes me more grateful than usual for things we otherwise might take for granted -- driving to the grocery store or to do errands on a sunny day, grateful to have a car and for the well-stocked shops; raking colorful leaves and taking a moment to breathe in the fresh air; enjoying the holiday flower arrangements that are available in a wide variety of styles and Fall hues; bringing a home-baked pecan or pumpkin pie to a neighbor; and taking the time to appreciate all the beauty that surrounds us.
Regardless of how you choose to celebrate the holiday, Happy Thanksgiving!
Small things mean a lot
By Carol Meyer
When my younger son, Marc, was in Boston a while ago, he saw a homeless man with a bouquet of beautiful tulips.
Thinking that maybe the man was selling them to earn a little money, my son asked if he could buy one of the flowers. The man politely refused.
Instead, he offered this beautiful tulip to my son to give to someone he loved.
There are so many kind souls who are struggling -- whether from joblessness, homelessness, or a lack of food and other resources -- or all three -- the list goes on and on.
In addition to helping when we can, let's remember that a few friendly words can give people who are struggling a little hope and lift their spirits. And in this case, a thoughtful homeless man touched my son's heart with a small but meaningful act of kindness.
Special Town Meeting called for Nov. 21
By Carol Britton Meyer
During the outdoor regular Town Meeting in June, efforts were made to keep participants cool. For the Nov. 21 Special Town Meeting, that shouldn't be an issue.
The meeting will take place on the multi-purpose field at the high school -- with social distancing in place and face make requirements -- featuring a warrant article asking voters to allow the town to move forward with the $5.5 million purchase of a parcel of land at 335 Lincoln St. for potential use as a new combined Hingham Police and Fire Department public safety building. A two-thirds vote is required for the article to pass because a borrowing is involved.
The cost of the project will not be the subject of a vote at this Special Town Meeting, although the most recent estimate is about $40 million -- nor will voters be asked to fund the building of the facility this time around. The cost would go down if the scope and the size of the project were to change.
The police department -- located at Town Hall -- and the North Street fire station have outgrown their current locations and both chiefs and the public safety facility building committee have outlined in detail the buildings' shortcomings and looking toward the future.
If the project becomes a reality, the Senior Center will be able to expand into the police department space.
The meeting will begin at noon on the 21st, with a rain date of the following day at the same time. if it rains then as well, the meeting will be held inside.