This week I attended a Town of Bourne Finance Committee meeting regarding the use of CPA funds for the preservation of the one-room Bournedale Village Schoolhouse at 29 Herring Pond Road in Bournedale Village, a rich historical section of Bourne.
As I understand it, and I am not very familiar with the actual funding mechanism, these monies are basically a dedicated fund from certain transactions that can be used only for open space, recreation, and historic preservation. The funds are distributed between these three classes using a standard formula. This is not money from the town’s general operating budget as far as I know.
The Bournedale Village Schoolhouse dates from the late 1800s and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2013. Very impressive when you consider the amount of restoration that is often needed to reach this state of recognition.
In 1925 the town having no further use for the building chose to let the residents of Bournedale have oversight of this building. In the early 1950s, after over 25 years of caring for and maintaining this site Bournedale residents sought some documented control of this property through Town Meeting. This did not happen; however the Town of Bourne did eventually “pony up” some money to cover materials related to usual repairs, paint, wood, et cetera. Many of the village families provided the skill and expertise to do the actual work at no charge—the satisfaction of having a nice community meetinghouse in their part of town was just fine.
A number of families of Bournedale now have over 85 years of “sweat equity” in this significant piece of town history. To me these people and what they have accomplished through the years represent the character of our town. Neighbors from all walks of life have worked together to preserve and enjoy a significant piece of the town’s history. Locals and newcomers alike still take care of mowing, planting flowers and picking up the trash, making this property something every Town of Bourne resident can be proud of.
More Bourne Opinion
The preservation of this building has now been moved from the village people to the town facilities manager. He would like to undertake a significant restoration of this building.
This appears to be a costly endeavor until you consider the 85 years of “sweat equity” already invested by the members of our community.
I urge you to please support this project May 5 at Special Town Meeting.
Galon (Skip) Barlow