Bedford Receives Two Historic Preservation Grants from the Massachusetts Historical Commission

One of the many damaged headstones at Shawsheen Cemetery - Image (c) JMcCT
One of the many damaged headstones at Shawsheen Cemetery – Image (c) JMcCT

Submitted by Bedford’s Historic Preservation Commission

The Massachusetts Historical Commission (MHC) has selected the Town of Bedford for two matching grants from its Mass. Preservation Projects Fund (MPPF). On June 16, 2014, MHC announced the projects that had been selected to receive matching grants under Round 20 of the MPPF.  Bedford’s application for the historic portion of Shawsheen Cemetery was one of those selected.

Shawsheen Cemetery Preservation Plan

The historic section of Shawsheen Cemetery is home to many splendid monuments. - Image (c) JMcCT
The historic section of Shawsheen Cemetery is home to many splendid monuments. – Image (c) JMcCT

The Commission will provide $12,000 as 50:50 matching funds for consulting services for preparation of a Preservation Plan for the cemetery with a focus on stabilization of grave markers.  Town Meeting previously approved the use of Community Preservation funds for Bedford’s matching portion.  Established in 1849 and now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Shawsheen Cemetery has suffered from the ravages of time and weather.  The town’s Annual Reports show no record of any capital expenditure by the town since then to preserve the cemetery.

The Preservation Plan will identify the broken stones to be repaired, the many fallen and leaning stones to be reset, burial plots to be regraded, and other needs to restore the cemetery.

Over the years many of the stones have fallen into disrepair - Image (c) JMcCT
Over the years many of the stones have fallen into disrepair – Image (c) JMcCT

Restoration of the Bedford Passenger Depot

Notice posted on the Depot, outlining the current grant - Image (c) JMcCT
Notice posted on the Depot, outlining the current grant – Image (c) JMcCT

Last year Bedford was awarded a $60,650 matching grant under Round 19 of the MPPF for exterior restoration of the northern half of Bedford’s Passenger Depot.  When the work was put out to bid at the end of 2013, the low bidder submitted an extremely favorable alternate bid to complete exterior restoration of the entire depot under a single contract.  MHC was contacted regarding a possible matching grant for the additional work, but because the work was already out to bid and a contractor selected, it would have been ineligible for award of a new grant.  Town Meeting subsequently voted to use Community Preservation funds to complete the entire project.  On June 23, 2014, Bedford received a contract amendment awarding the town an additional $53,000 in an unsolicited grant award, bringing the State’s share in the Depot project up to $113,650.  It had also previously awarded the town a matching grant of $24,000 for preparation of the Depot Preservation Plan upon which the current work is based.

Don Corey, a member of Bedford’s Historic Preservation Commission, noted that the MHC is well aware of Bedford’s commitment to restoration and preservation of its historic municipal resources.  Bedford was the first community to adopt the Community Preservation Act, and Town Meeting has consistently approved historic preservation projects recommended to it by the Community Preservation Committee.  Bedford’s first CPA project was restoration of Old Town Hall, and it received an additional unsolicited MHC grant award on that project.  More recently, Bedford was the recipient of three (3) separate matching grants for the Old Burying Ground totaling about $125,000 for preparation of the Preservation Plan, restoration of gravestones and finally for tomb stabilization.  The town has also received a number of other MHC grant awards in recent years, which have all been completed on time and within budget.

Renovations, including an accessible front porch, are underway at Bedford's historic passenger depot. Image (c) JMcCT
Renovations, including an accessible front porch, are underway at Bedford’s historic passenger depot. Image (c) JMcCT

 


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Irene
Irene
8 years ago

Where can we see the plans for the passenger depot? Are they posted somewhere?

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