Conservation gift accepted by council
By Joan F. Simoneau, Community Reporter
Marlborough – A $1,000 grant from the Cummings Foundation to the city’s Conservation Commission was formerly accepted by the City Council at the council’s April 7 meeting. The gift was given at the recommendation of and in honor of Ginger Ryan, one of the foundation’s employees.
In her communication to the Council, Conservation Officer Priscilla Ryder stated: “Ms. Ryan has been an active volunteer with the city’s Stream Team for several years and has offered to donate these funds to help advance the work that the Conservation Commission does on our conservation land properties and trails.”
In a communication Clancy sent to the Cummings Properties President Dennis Clarke, he said: “Ginger Ryan has been a valuable volunteer to the commission spending hours checking our streams for our Stream Team inventory. We are so pleased that you thought of us for this donation. We will use it wisely to advance conservation land projects in the city and continue to maintain and preserve our trail network and natural resources, including the open space behind your New Horizons property in Marlborough.”
In other business, the council referred a proposal from Mayor Arthur Vigeant regarding a library grant back to the mayor for further clarification. In a communication to the council Vigeant had requested the council approve a measure that would have the city apply to the Mass. State Board of Library Commissioners for a matching grant for planning and designing library facilities.
According to the request, the grant would provide the city with $50,000 provided the city committed an additional $25,000 as a local contribution. He also stated: “In reviewing the current debt service payments and the city’s aggressive payment schedule, more than $2 million annually will drop off by the end of the year 2022, the year anticipated library payments would begin. This provides the city with an added measure of financial capacity to take such a project on.”
Councilor-at-Large Michael Ossing, who is also the Finance Committee chair, spoke in favor of approving the proposal, which has a May 1 application deadline. He noted that the city would be “missing out on a good opportunity” if it did not apply for the grant. Ward 7 City Councilor Donald Landers agreed, adding “To me it’s a bargain. It doesn’t say we are going to build a library, just plan and design one.”
Ward 1 City Councilor Joseph Delano led the charge to seek further clarification from the mayor.
“There is a tremendous need in the schools in the city and I feel this should be our first priority, rather than a library,” he said, stating that he interprets the proposal as a commitment to proceed with building a new library which could deter the mayor from going forward with a full plan for school needs. “We have one meeting before the deadline to discuss this and decide.”
Council President Trish Pope also expressed the need for school projects and agreed that it would be beneficial to have a big picture of what is being planned for the future.
The council agreed by a 6-5 vote to return the proposal to the mayor.
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