Published August 14, 2019
By DAN TOMASELLO
LYNNFIELD — A series of Town Common improvement projects will begin this fall.
The new septic system for the Meeting House and Lynnfield Public Library will be installed in late September. Additionally, the Town Common gazebo is being eyed for completion later this fall and the Meeting House is going to get a new roof and paint job.
“This is a full upgrade of the Town Common and the Meeting House,” said Town Administrator Rob Dolan in an interview with the Villager.
In an interview with the Villager, Town Engineer Charlie Richter said the shared septic system project will commence around Sept. 23 after several town events conclude. First Responders Day is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, Sept. 11, beginning at 6 p.m. A Healthy Lynnfield’s first annual A Night of Hope candlelight vigil will take place on Sunday, Sept. 22, beginning at 6 p.m.
Richter recalled that the 2018 October Town Meeting approved the septic system project.
“This shared septic system will be for the library and the Meeting House,” said Richter. “We originally intended to add the flow from the Historical Center to this shared septic system, but it’s logistically better and cheaper to build a separate system for the Historical Center. This system will be installed next year.”
Richter noted the town is currently waiting for the septic system’s “prices to come in.”
“We were appropriated $400,000 for the project, which we are confident is sufficient for this project,” said Richter.
Richter noted the permitting process for the septic system has been completed.
“We are waiting to hear back from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection for final approvals on the Historical Center septic system,” said Richter.
Richter anticipates it will take “approximately one month to install the shared system and connect both buildings.”
“The system will be located in a clearing between the walkway that splits the Common and the flagpole adjacent to the Meeting House,” said Richter.
Richter said local officials are looking forward to the project getting underway.
“The town has had septic issues with these buildings for a few years,” said Richter. “Due to space limitations with the lot at the library, finding a viable location for a septic system for the library was challenging. With the recent failing of the septic system at the Meeting House, we are thrilled we were able to locate a shared septic system on the Common. We believe that this system will accommodate the use of each building well now and in the future.”
Rotary Club member Bob Priestley stated on the Lynnfield Community Group Facebook page that the Meeting House’s septic system leaching field backed up during the final Concert on the Common earlier this month. He said the odor was “unbearable” and he had to lock the Meeting House in order to prevent attendees from using the historic building’s restrooms.
“I was embarrassed that the septic system-leaching field backed up during the concert,” Priestley stated.
In a statement on the Town of Lynnfield Facebook page, Dolan apologized to residents “who have been adversely affected by these issues at recent events.”
“The town has been pumping the septic system regularly to allow for continued use of the Meeting House and the Common as an interim measure,” Dolan stated. “(The Aug. 1) issue indicates that an even more aggressive pumping schedule must take place, and the system will be pumped before and after each event. The town also urges those visiting the Common to utilize the clean and well-maintained portable toilets across from the Common on South Common Street until the new septic system is installed. Work on a comprehensive and permanent solution to these issues has been ongoing.”
Dolan thanked residents for being patient while the septic system issues get resolved.
In addition to the shared septic system project, the Historical Commission and the Historical Society are moving forward with plans to construct a gazebo on the Town Common.
Historical Commission Chairman Steve Todisco said the commission is working with architect Matt Cummings from Cummings Architects on the gazebo’s design. He noted Cummings previously worked on Centre Farm.
“Matt is currently working with the commission on designing the gazebo,” said Todisco. “Matt is a great architect who is donating his time and resources to design the gazebo and develop the site plan.”
Todisco noted Cummings recently gave the Historical Commission a preliminary presentation about the project. He said a follow-up presentation will tentatively be held later this month.
“The Historical Society is going to fund the project,” said Todisco.
After the gazebo’s design and identified location are finalized, Todisco said a general contractor is going to be hired to build the new structure.
“We are hoping to have the project finished this fall,” said Todisco.
The Historical Commission began laying the groundwork for the gazebo project in August 2017. The Board of Selectmen signed off on the proposal in March 2018.
In addition to the gazebo project, Historical Society President Linda Gillon said the Meeting House is going to be repaired this fall. She said the repairs will cost $30,000.
“We will be replacing the roof and painting the building inside and out,” said Gillon.
War Memorial update
After the three Town Common projects get wrapped up, the War Memorial Committee is gearing up for a fundraising drive in order to bring a new memorial to the center of town.
The WMC was formed in February 2016 and was tasked with expanding the town’s War Memorial. The new memorial will not be replacing the existing War Memorial located on the Town Common that abuts Main Street.
In an interview with the Villager, WMC Chairman Jason Kimball said the project got delayed due to the septic system and gazebo projects. He discussed the project with local officials recently.
“We need to contact an architect to develop plans that were backed by the selectmen in December 2017,” said Kimball.
The selectmen supported WMC member Joe Connell’s proposed concept for the new War Memorial, which would be located across the street from the main Common and near the Old Burying Ground.
“Once we get cost estimates from contractors, we will then be able to start fundraising,” said Kimball.