Whately voters OK match for veterans’ monument upgrade

Recorder Staff
Monday, December 11, 2017

WHATELY — If all goes as planned, the legacy of local veterans who fought in recent wars will soon be memorialized in stone.

Special town meeting voters on Monday unanimously approved $7,500 to be spent on “designing and constructing” improvements to the veterans monument adjacent to the old town hall in the town’s historic center.

“The real purpose of this money is to be a match for a grant we’re submitting,” said Town Administrator Brian Domina, referring to a $15,000 matching grant from the State Historical Recorders Access Board.

“When you’re writing a grant, it’s better to say you have money appropriated, rather than say you think you can get a match. If we have it now, in hand, it makes the grant application more competitive,” he continued.

The project, which is in its “infant stages,” will update an existing memorial that’s fallen into disrepair. “One of the benches is broken, the landscape is overgrown, and the monuments haven’t been updated since the 1970s,” Domina said.

Specifically, Selectboard Chairman Fred Orloski said town officials would like to add displays recognizing veterans who served after the Vietnam War, which is one of the last conflicts memorialized.

“The grant is very specific to the restoration of the veterans monument,” Domina noted just before the final tally was taken.

Other items

Elsewhere on Monday’s agenda, residents voted to return $14,376 in Community Preservation Act funds. The money was left over from a total $18,000 that was appropriated four years ago to rehabilitate sporting fields at Herlihy Field and 219 Christian Lane.

Before the vote, Selectman Jonathan Edwards said town officials want to research a little bit more before moving forward with any projects, and anticipate requesting money again in the future.

“The recreation committee will probably be going back to the Community Preservation Act committee,” Edwards said. “We’re happy to give it back, temporarily.”

Voters also approved funds to pay $15,000 in unpaid Water Department Verizon bills.

“Shortly after we moved into this building, the bills stopped coming,” said Bill Smith, secondary Water Superintendent, referring to the move a few years ago from the old town hall to the current Sandy Lane offices. “All of a sudden we got a notice that said, ‘If you don’t pay this, we’ll shut you off,’ and we never got a satisfactory answer as to where they went.”

Finally, an article technically defining where marijuana can be grown — making town laws consistent with state law — passed unanimously.

You can reach Andy Castillo

at: acastillo@recorder.com

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On Twitter: @AndyCCastillo