By Carol Britton Meyer
Community Preservation Act proposals for the current round of funding include a new World's End visitors center, purchase of the historic Benjamin Lincoln house, affordable housing, and 10 others.
Voters at next year's Town Meeting -- and that includes you! -- will decide which of the projects recommended by the Hingham Community Preservation Committee they would like to see move forward. The process has just begun for 2019-2020, and more information will be available.
In my view, the Benjamin Lincoln house proposal is of particular interest because the Lincoln family has lived in the house since the 17th Century and has agreed to take it off the market until the CPA process is complete. That's because the family doesn't want it to go into the hands of private owners, who could possibly change the inside of the house. The house would come with the contents, including a number of historic artifacts, and would likely be used as a learning center/museum.
Another proposal requests $650,000 for affordable housing under the Hingham Affordable Housing Trust -- an issue that 's on the minds of many Hinghamites as housing prices continue to escalate.
Others include creation of a Benjamin Lincoln Park on Station Street; upgrades to the popular Plymouth River Playground; South Shore Country Club improvements, including a new outdoor pool with a "bubble" for year-round use; an updated "Vision for the Inner Harbor" plan, and more.
It's interesting to note, said CPC member Vicki Donlan at a recent meeting, that Benjamin Lincoln is NOT related to Abraham Lincoln, as many people think!
Community Preservation Act funding comes from a 1.5 percent CPA annual taxpayer surcharge that Hingham voters adopted in 2000. The state matches a portion of the funds.
CPA funds may only be used for open space acquisition, historic preservation, community housing, and limited recreational projects.
The CPC will make its recommendations at the April 2020 Town Meeting, which has the final say.
So there's plenty of time to follow the process and think about which proposals you might support at next year's Town Meeting!
By Carol Meyer
Some 493 students are currently enrolled at Foster School and are looking forward to a successful new school year!
The Massachusetts School Building Authority paid a visit to Foster recently, which was an opportunity for school officials to express concerns about the building's deficiencies and their impact on the educational program and to assess its condition.
This is the third time the town has sought partial state reimbursement from the MSBA for what they say is a much-needed major renovation -- or an entirely new building.
The MSBA's decision on the town's third Statement of Interest is expected this coming December, and school officials remain hopeful that there will be good news this time around.
Any costs that would be incurred in excess of any grant approved by and received from the MSBA would be borne by the town and would require a Town Meeting vote before the project could move forward.
Quite a few Foster parents and teachers continue to express concerns about the condition of the building.
Have you or any of your children attended Foster? What are your thoughts -- would major repairs be enough or do you think an entirely new school is needed?
By Carol Meyer
Hingham Public Library Sunday hours resume Sept. 7 -- from 1 to 5 p.m. -- after being closed on that day during the summer months.
Fortunately, the resumed Sunday hours coincide with the start of the new school year, providing a quiet, comfortable setting for students -- and others -- to do research, write papers, study, read a good book, or just take a break from their busy schedules.
A reference librarian is always available to help you find what you need. If you can't find a particular book or other resource on the library's shelves, you can reserve them online at ocln.org -- which allows patrons to access materials from other local libraries. All you need is your library card!
In fact, the library is a great resource for patrons of all ages -- offering fun and educational activities and events for kids, teens, and adults. Check out the calendar at hinghamlibrary.org.
The library also features a landscaped courtyard, art galleries, a book store, and a cafe. What more could we ask for? Be sure to stop by soon!
Do you visit the library often? If yes, do you study, enjoy activities and events, or just take a break from the outside world there -- or all three?!
By Carol Meyer
When I posted how much I love summer to Facebook a few weeks ago, I expected everyone to "like" the post.
Who could possibly prefer snow to sunshine -- shoveling, pulling on heavy winter clothes and boots, unearthing the car, and the dirty snow that lines the streets soon after every snowfall to long and sometimes lazy days filled with sunshine, vibrant flowers, and trips to the beach, followed by long summer nights with crickets and peepers sounding their songs? And when it does rain, the grass is green and gardens flourish.
Well, was I mistaken. Even my own sister thinks I'm crazy! While some of my Facebook friends truly love summer best despite its often high temperatures as I do, others said they actually prefer the white stuff, including shoveling. And one or two posted that they really, really don't like summer!!!!
To each his or her own, but I intend to enjoy every last day of summer right up until September 22.
The only thing I can say is, I hope I don't hear any complaints from "those" people when winter arrives! Let's pick our favorite season and leave it at that.
In the meantime, I think almost everyone enjoys a crisp fall day!
What is YOUR favorite season?
By Carol Meyer
Plans are in the works to move the harborfront POW/MIA memorial and flagpole to a more prominent, accessible location on Whitney Wharf.
Another reason for the move is expected future sea-level rise at its current location. Plans are underway to raise the height of Whitney Wharf and other town wharves to help address this issue.
"The flagpole will be privately funded," Director of Veterans' Services Keith Jermyn said. The Town of Hingham Veterans Benefit Fund is now accepting contributions of any size to help support the project.
We sometimes don't remember our fallen heroes and their contribution to our country. Stopping by the memorial site and making even a small donation toward the flagpole would be a good show of support.
The idea for the waterfront memorial came from Hingham Vietnam Veteran Robert F. Beal, Jr. The flagpole was erected and dedicated on Flag Day -- June 14 -- 1986. The Massachusetts state flag was a gift from the State Veterans Commission, and the POW/MIA flag was donated by the father of MIA Joseph Dunn of Hull.
The inscription on the engraved plaque, donated by Hingham residents Jane and Jerry Goldberg, reads in part: "With the continued support of the citizens of Hingham, these flags will continue to fly 24 hours a day until the complete disposition of all POW/MIAs is resolved. Brothers, you are not forgotten."
Have you ever seen the memorial and the flags or visited Whitney Wharf? There's still plenty of time to do so this summer. The last day of summer isn't until Sept. 22!
By Carol Meyer
Derby Street corridor improvements to address ongoing safety and capacity issues have been in the works since 2018, with a targeted completion date of Spring 2020.
The reconstruction project includes intersection improvements, new sidewalks, and new traffic signals at both the Route 3 north- and southbound expressway ramps. Of top priority is making the 0.8-mile corridor more pedestrian- and bicyclist-friendly. The state is expected to pick up most of the roughly $5 million tab.
Derby Street is classified as an urban minor arterial providing access to Routes 3 and 53 in Hingham and Weymouth. The primary land use along the Derby Street corridor is stand-alone businesses and commercial enterprises.
The Town of Hingham has set a priority on further commercial development in South Hingham to increase the tax base, with the least impacts to residential properties as possible.
Through a separate project, improvements to the tricky Gardner/Derby/Whiting Street intersection are also in the works, with a projected completion date of Fall 2020.
Do you think this project will help attract more commercial uses to the area? Do you think that doing so is a good idea?
By Carol Meyer
I admit to ordering quite a few things online for convenience sake and for savings.
That said, I also frequent the downtown CVS, Artisans in the Square for many birthday and holiday gifts, and other Hingham Square and surrounding shops and restaurants, along with several stores at the Derby Street Shops.
While there is still plenty of summer left to enjoy — after all, it stretches until Sept. 23! — it is nearing the time for back-to-school shopping.
Quite a few people on facebook are aware of my protests about back-to-school signs that were posted in mid-June in some chain stores, but it’s now mid-August and it’s time to start stocking up on school supplies, cool back-to-school outfits, and healthy snacks. Shopping local not only supports local businesses but it also saves gas. So let’s shop local whenever we can!
What are your favorite places to shop in Hingham? Do you usually shop local?
By Carol Meyer
Attention, boaters and other harbor-users! The Town of Hingham dredges the Hingham Inner Harbor mooring basin every 10 years to maintain safe-water depth, which means it's up for dredging again starting this year. Ten years go by fast!
"We anticipate this project will require the entire dredging window, from October 1 to January 31, 2020," Harbormaster Ken Corson said recently.
Lt. Governor Karyn Polito recently visited Hingham to announce the awarding of a $2 million Massachusetts Dredging Program grant to the town, which allows the project to move forward. Corson attended the ceremony.
In anticipation of the start of this project, all boats and moorings must be removed from the mooring basin before Oct. 1, or earlier depending on individual marinas. Town pier floats will be removed from the water by September 27. Due to dredging operations, navigation in the mooring basin will be restricted beginning October 1.
An estimated 62,000 cubic yards of sediment will be removed, which will restore all-tide access to the town's more than 230 public moorings, among other benefits.
Be sure to stop by one of the Bathing Beach parking lots or other areas around the harbor to catch a glimpse of the dredging equipment once the project is underway -- quite a sight to see!
Do you boat in Hingham Harbor? What makes it so special?
By: Carol Meyer
Be sure to stop by to see for yourself the recently-completed historically-themed mural on the side and back of the Hennessy News Building on North Street -- a true work of art and labor of love!
Well-known Hingham artist Susan Kilmartin designed the mural, and she and and talented art students from Hingham High School and the South Shore Charter School in Norwell -- with guidance from their art teachers -- brought the project to reality.
Special thanks goes to Hennessy News owner Joe Ierardi for his willingness to allow the artists to paint the historic scenes on the building.
The mural depicts colonial life circa 1840 on Hersey Farm in Hingham. The toy and box factory -- which had been locked up and hidden by vines and vegetation -- was recently uncovered and found to be completely intact by members of the Hersey family (still in residence on the farm). The toys and tools inside were also intact after 100 years.
The cost of the paint and other supplies the students used throughout the project was covered by Greenbush Historic Preservation Trust grants. The purpose of this fund is to preserve and maintain historic assets and streetscapes along the Greenbush commuter rail right-of way and the surrounding area to enhance downtown Hingham. (The back of Hennessy's News abuts the tunnel cap.) "I'm very grateful for this grant," said Kilmartin, who donated her time to the project.
Have you seen the mural yet? What do you think it adds to downtown Hingham?
By Carol Meyer
There are plenty of fun summertime activities to enjoy right here in Hingham without having to travel far at all.
There's golfing and swimming at South Shore Country Club; sailing and rowing at Hingham Maritime Center; swimming and picnicking at the Bathing Beach; experiencing farm life at the 75-acre Weir River Farm on Turkey Hill; and learning more about the town's history at The Heritage Museum at 34 Main Street; among dozens of other activities.
The Hingham Farmers Market at the Bathing Beach is the place to go Saturday mornings from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Lots of summertime activities for all ages are also offered at Hingham Rec, Hingham Community Center, and South Shore Conservatory.
You might also want to add the Bare Cove Fire Museum and the nearby South Shore Model Railway Club to your summer "to do" list.
And to top off a summer filled with fun activities, the Launch at Hingham Shipyard is hosting free live outdoor concerts and movies Thursday and Friday evenings in July and August, weather permitting, in the amphitheater behind Hingham Beer Works at 18 Shipyard Drive. Bring lawn chairs and blankets! Movies are shown on Thursdays and start at dusk. Musical performances begin at 7 p.m. Friday evenings.
Do you spend a lot of time in Hingham during the summer? What's your favorite summertime activity?