Public Buildings Preservation Task Force
Mayor David Cohen and former President Brooke Lipsitt appointed me several years ago to a task force established to develop policies for preserving the historic character of city owned buildings and landscapes. After she left the Board, I replaced former Alderman Susan Basham as Co-Chair. (Chief Administrative Officer Michael Rourke is the other Co-Chair.) We have focused on painting the balustrade at City Hall, protecting the dioramas of famous battles in the War Memorial from water damage, replacing light fixtures, and making other necessary improvements to protect the building and its grounds.
In the future, we hope to restore the dioramas and the steps of the War Memorial and to repair the Civil War Memorial in the Newton Cemetery. We have also supported the restoration of the Newton Corner Branch Library and of the badly deteriorated city Burying Grounds. We are exploring ways to preserve the Crafts Street Stable and the Newton Health Department Building (formerly the Newton Centre Branch Library). We have in addition revised a list of city properties ranked by their historic significance as a guide to future city activities. Most of our work is dependent on the use of city Community Preservation funding. For more detailed information, click here.
After Mr. Rourke retired, several members left their jobs and the North High School Project became the pre-occupation of other, the Task Force cease to meet. The momentum from the orginal burst of activity continued. The Crafts Street Stable was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Historic preservation plans were completed for the Civil War Memorial, the Newton Health Department building, and the exterior of the War Memorial were developed. I have urged the Public Buildings Commissioner to apply in October for CPA funds to implement the historic preservation of the Civil War Memorial. I will urge the next Mayor to reconstitute the Task Force with new members and a new charge.