By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing Writer
Hudson – Discussions continue among townspeople and elected officials for the most appropriate way to memorialize native son Argeo Paul Cellucci, former Massachusetts governor and ambassador to Canada. The idea of a monument was publicly introduced by resident Jim Saart at a Board of Selectmen meeting in December. Selectmen Jim Quinn and Chris Yates volunteered to pursue the idea.
“Jim Saart was the catalyst who got the ball rolling on this,” Quinn said. “He stood up for something that he believes in passionately.”
From the start, the selectmen and the resident have agreed on elements such as private funding and the Cellucci family's approval. Consideration for the monument's location has shifted from Saart's initial suggestion of the new roundabout on Route 85 to the Town Hall lawn. Each site has connections to Cellucci.
The roundabout borders an entrance to Forestvale Cemetery, the resting place of Cellucci, who died last June from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. It's also near the roadway named after his father, Argeo R. Cellucci Jr., who chaired the Economic Development Commission for 39 years, and convinced state officials to build a connector road to routes 495 and 290.
However, the roundabout might be an impractical spot, explained Kerin Shea, the community and economic development assistant.
“That section of Route 85 is owned by the state,” she said. “On completion of the Route 85 project, there will be a discontinuance and then it has to go to Town Meeting. We have to accept the roadway, which won's happen until at least May of 2015.”
Also, the possibility of including a garden with the monument would be difficult to maintain because there's no water source at the new roundabout. The current plan is to install drought-tolerant grass.
The selectmen consulted Cellucci's widow, Jan.? She told them that her husband would want the Board of Selectmen to decide whether a tribute is warranted. And if so, what form the memorial would be, where it's placed and how it's funded. She also stressed that the opportunity to serve as a Hudson selectman was the most formative part of his lifelong commitment to public service.
After Quinn discussed the proposed monument with about 180 residents, as well as directors of town departments, it was determined that the most appropriate site is near the Church Street entrance of the Town Hall. That location is diagonally across the street from the Argeo R. Cellucci Jr. Clubhouse of the Boys & Girls Clubs of MetroWest.
“Paul got his start in politics as a selectman at the Town Hall, so we thought it would be more fitting to have a memorial there,” Quinn explained. “As Jim Saart said when he suggested a memorial, there shouldn's be any problem finding donations.”
Quinn is hopeful that civic organizations will host fundraisers and contribute monetary donations, and businesses will offer materials and their work time toward the monument.
The exact form of the monument hasn's been finalized. It's likely to be part of a parklet and include a plaque noting Cellucci's accomplishments.
“Jan said it would be nice to make it inspirational and educational, especially for young people,” Quinn relayed. “We want it to have a plaque that kids can read for inspiration. Actually, we can all use inspiration.”
Quinn wants an open forum to be held at the Town Hall to discuss the monument when the weather improves, so that residents of all ages can offer input.
“We want to include older residents because they knew Paul,” Quinn noted. “They know that both Paul and his father were very approachable and loved Hudson.”