Preserve Marion's Town House for $36 per year

May 03

To the Editor:

Thirty-six dollars per year is the difference in additional property taxes on a $400,000 home in Marion to fund the renovation of our beautiful, historic Town House compared to building a new one on Route 6. That’s $3 per month. Is it worth it? I certainly think so.

I am proud to be a “native” Marionite – born and schooled in this special, quintessential New England town. I left to attend college and pursue my career, then after 35 years living on the west coast and elsewhere, my husband (also a Marion native) and I returned home with our family. Nowhere else we’ve lived has ever felt like home.

What makes Marion so special? Our community, waterfront, and beautiful village. Travel around the country and you find many towns that have lost their hometown personality to cookie-cutter development and congestion. Marion has managed to hang onto its peaceful charm over many decades, but maintaining it for our children and grandchildren will require continued vigilance and investment.

The Town House is one of the fibers that keeps Marion’s fabric strong. When I take visitors on a tour of our town, their eyes light up when they see our beautiful, historic buildings. Might we save a few bucks by building a new town hall on the VFW property? Maybe. Will a developer see value in converting the Town House to condos or offices? Doubtful. Remediating asbestos, replacing the electrical system, and meeting building codes will likely cost more than the market price of the condos. Similar historic buildings in Fairhaven sit deteriorating as they wait for a developer to rescue them.

Like the Mastercard ad says, “A new town hall: $5,107,000. A preserved historic Town House: priceless.” Please come to Town Meeting on May 14 and vote to keep Marion’s Town Hall where it is for generations to come.

Jennifer Francis