EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

January 2, 2014

Kingston, Pelham seek LCHIP grants

Communities seek money for preservation

By Doug Ireland
direland@eagletribune.com

---- — For communities around the Granite State, it’s a lottery of sorts.

Tomorrow, several dozen towns and nonprofit organizations will learn if they receive part of the $4.1 million pot being doled out by the Land and Community Heritage Investment Program.

That includes the towns of Pelham and Kingston, which have applied for grants that would help pay for some major community projects.

Pelham has requested $88,000 for the preservation of conservation land. Kingston seeks $19,100 for the conversion of its former library into a museum and $17,500 for the restoration of its historic bandstand.

The program, also known as LCHIP, is considering funding requests totaling $6.5 million for projects in more than 60 towns and cities in 10 counties.

Money was requested for 75 potential projects and 39 will split the funding appropriated by the Legislature, according to LCHP executive director Dijit Taylor.

These projects seek to protect 55 historic sites, dating from 1686 to 1949. They also propose to protect 5,985 acres across New Hampshire. Communities and organizations are required to put forward a 50-50 match.

The funding from LCHIP is crucial to many historic preservation projects, Taylor said.

“It is really important to them,” she said. “In many cases, if a building is denied the money asked for, they are in danger of something drastic happening to the building.”

In Pelham, the town seeks reimbursement of some of the $264,957 spent to acquire the 36-acre Greenmeadow Acres property on Greenmeadow Drive.

The property is part of a 39.5-acre parcel acquired from Merrimack Valley Homes, according to Pelham Conservation Commission Chairman Paul Gagnon.

“We are trying to preserve 1,000 acres in town and this is a good piece,” Gagnon said.

The purchase gives the town about 500 conservation areas from Cutter Woods to Gumpas Pond that can be used for hiking and biking.

Kingston Heritage Commission Chairwoman Debra Powers said money has been requested to fund two valuable projects in town.

One proposal would help Kingston preserve its bandstand, which was built on The Plains in 1875. The project is expected to cost $35,875.

Powers said she’s hopeful the town will receive the $17,500 grant requested for the bandstand.

“We’re extremely optimistic,” Powers said. “We really think it’s a viable project. We’re really looking forward to seeing the results Friday.”

The bandstand is badly in need of repair after being patched with plywood and planks over the years, Powers. said. Its floor is no longer safe, she said.

“It’s such a landmark in town — generations of families have had their wedding pictures taken there,” she said. “But it’s just not a safe structure at all. It needs a lot of work.”

Kingston library trustees applied for money for the $38,200 project at Nichols Memorial Library.

The stone structure, constructed in 1898, served as the town’s library until a $2.2 million facility was built in 2012. The building would be used as a town museum and the work would include installation of a new temperature-control system, Powers said.

Many town artifacts have stored been in a small building near Town Hall and would be relocated to Nichols, Power said.