Mattapoisett to help American Legion with hall repairs

Oct 22, 2019

MATTAPOISETT — A proposal for the town to help the American Legion repair the dangerously faulty roof on their building in exchange for a more municipal meeting space passed by two votes.

Patricia Donoghue, chair of the Finance Committee, started off debate at the Oct. 21 meeting with concerns about the town helping a building that needs major repairs. She said that the town has a history of purchasing land, including the Holy Ghost grounds and a property on Church Street for a potential Town Hall, that it never uses as intended.  

Donoghue was sympathetic to the American Legion, which also faces other repairs on the building, but wondered “Are we properly using other spaces in town?” where the the Legion could meet instead. 

She introduced a motion from the Finance Committee to include the hall in a review of Town Hall and the town’s two elementary schools that had already been approved earlier that night. 

Ray Andrews, a member of the Legion, said the group was originally looking to make the Depot street hall handicap accessible. However, when they consulted with an architect he said to focus on the east side roof immediately. After fixing the roof, the group plans to use Community Preservation Agreement and Community Preservation Committee funds for the rest of the renovations.

The historic building was once Pine Island Schoolhouse. It was sustained roof damage in a fire when it was moved down Route 6. 

Gagne said “the American Legion has been very gracious in letting the town use their space occasionally. This is part of the reason we are trying to help with building fixes.” 

Bill Cantor, an abutter to the hall, added to the debate, saying that the Legion members are “not desirable neighbors.” He said people who attend events at the space often park on nearby lawns and there is noise, when meetings and events let out. “Having a town facility to do the same type of thing doesn’t thrill us,” Cantor said.  

He believed the roof repairs would cost more than the $15,000 that the group had cited as its cost, and they should just look at other facilities that can be used for a meeting. 

Donoghue’s motion to amend the article lost with 41 votes in favor and 43 against. Calls for a secret ballot were also defeated.

The original motion was approved in a 42 to 40 vote.