UPDATED:Voters raise concern over funding for American Legion Post

May 9, 2023

MATTAPOISETT—Mattapoisett voters had a chance to voice their opinion on 31 items during Town Meeting on Monday, May 8.

Mattapoisett voters passed an article to allocate $42,000 in Community Preservation Act funds to install Americans with Disabilities Act compliant entry ramps and restrooms at the Florence Eastman American Legion Post. 

 According to Ray Andrews of the American Legion Academy, the organization has been able to waive handicap accessibility due to the buildings age, but now members are in need of the renovations. 

“We are an aging Legion we don’t have the mobility we used to,” said Andrews. “We still maintain our members to make an active post and we're not handicap accessible.”

Andrews explained that potential hall-renters have turned away from the Legion because it is not handicap accessible. 

According to Andrews, the Legion Hall is used for a variety of social gatherings.

“This hall has been used for these social health welfare groups for [over three years]. It's something which is very important, and the Legion is very strong,” said Andrews.

The renovations will consist of removing the current entrance and installing an access ramp. 

“We reached out to every possible organization from the National American Legion, State American Legion headquarters to the county, there [are] no funds available for what we're trying to do,” said Andrews. 

Finance Committee Chairwoman Patricia Donoghue raised concerns about the town providing the funds for the project. 

“We've been funding renovations on this property for a number of years, we have absolutely no control over the property,” she said, referencing a number of noise complaints from the property. 

Mattapoisett voter Mark Judas echoed Donoghue’s sentiment.

“I don't understand [the] rationale for the town supporting improvement for a  building we don't own or have any vested interest in,” he said.

Capital Planning Committee chair Charles McCullough spoke in support of the funding. 

“I hate to say it this way, it's for the veterans,” he said. “We're making an investment on behalf of the veterans.”

Mattapoisett voter Steve Lombard asked to if there were other options for funding. 

“I know the Knights of Columbus we have stuff to raise funds for to do our work on our building, is there a way you guys can do the same thing?,” he asked.

Andrews explained that the project will be completed by Old Colony students to help save on expenses. 

According to Andrews, Post 280 is located in the historic East School building. 

“It is a historic building, that’s why the question came before CPA,” said Select Board member Jordan Collyer.

The item passed with 184 votes in support and three against.