Historical Commission supports Tremont Nail sprinkler fix

By Liam McKenna | Feb 05, 2014

In a brief conversation on the matter, the Wareham Historical Commission vocalized its support for the Municipal Maintenance department replacing sprinklers at Tremont Nail Factory.

“This is a hot button item in this town, and it’s almost political suicide to say the words ‘Tremont Nail Company,’” said Angela Dunham, the commission’s chair. “I take that back. It is political suicide to say ‘Tremont Nail Company’ out loud.”

David Menard, the director for the Municipal Maintenance department, applied for Community Preservation Committee funds to fix the failing fire suppression system at the Nail Factory.

Selectmen voted 4-1 on Jan. 28 to allow the Municipal Maintenance department to apply for $595,000 in improvements to the Tremont Nail Factory.

“There is a proposed CPA article for the sprinkler system for the main building and the building along the riverside for the dry system sprinklers,” Dunham said. “It’s leaking, and they’re looking for possible CPA funds to replace it with a new system.”

“It keeps springing leaks, and the fire department of course gets the alarm, and goes down there,” Dunham said.

Menard said the Fire Department would not allow the failing system to be shut down for safety reasons.

“Dave Menard is in touch with fire engineers trying to, and in discussion with the fire department, come up with a resolution to this situation, and that’s where I want it left because it’s true,” Dunham said. “People are making comments that are off-the-cuff and unknowledgeable.”

“We are aware of the situation, and we support a solution,” Dunham said.

Comments (29)
Posted by: totellthetruth | Feb 06, 2014 06:41

How old is this system? Anybody know? Seems to me it wasn't installed that long ago.

Beside the point:  BURN- BABY- BURN!!!!!!!    lol.

Posted by: obsidianmoon52 | Feb 06, 2014 07:13

I can't believe that people are so quick to burn down this Historical site! This country was built  from nails from this place! It's too bad it couldn't be turned into a working museum that could draw revenue for the town!


Posted by: Spherebreaker | Feb 06, 2014 07:27

If the Historical society wants this to be a working museum then they should have done so with private funds. Put a red X on the building, shut off the existing sprinkler and dont spend another dime on it.

Posted by: totellthetruth | Feb 06, 2014 08:48

Obsidian; Were open to ideas. Lets hear them. BTW; In  days gone by, buildings were burnt down purposely to reclaim the nails. Lets do that- and put the nails in a museum.

Posted by: Janet | Feb 06, 2014 08:56

Tx4 & SB, I agree with you both.  We can give to the fire departments to use as practice on putting out the fire.   I think the general population in this town who pay taxes should have some say in where CPC money is spent, after all, it came from our pockets in the first place.  This should be a ballot question!

Posted by: Dick Paulsen | Feb 06, 2014 12:45

First, let me say that I am totally in favor of preserving historic artifacts, why one look at me and you can see why.


But come on, that building would probably cost $1 million to get it into the shape that might make it useable, and note "might."  And what if we authorize the money, spend it, and then (say) three years later, decide to actually renovate it?  Guess what, $600,000 gone out the window, or in their case though the roof.


It is not CPC money, it is our money, and it could be and should be better used.


I think the BOS made a mistake in sending this on, it's about time we started to look at this whole CPC issue, namely, what have we got for our money and where are we going?

Posted by: bob | Feb 06, 2014 15:03


Posted by: watersprite | Feb 06, 2014 17:05

I agree with Mr. Paulsen.  We need to think much harder at how CPC funds are used.  We should not be using them to buy anything that has a follow-on support cost unless those funds are already identified and approved.  They should not be used to cover deferred maintenance costs on buildings with dubious or zero historical qualities (roofs on municipal buildings, for instance).  I've often felt that the same argument was used by CPC proponents as was used by Chief Stanley when he talked about defibrillators: "people will die!"  We don't have to spend the money just because we have it.

Posted by: Andrea Smith | Feb 06, 2014 17:23

Any estimates on the cost of general rehabilitation and bringing the building up to code so it can be safely opened to the public? And how about the cost of renovations to create a museum? My guess is it would take decades before the building used as a museum, would turn a profit for the town.

Posted by: Hissing Cobra | Feb 06, 2014 20:14

We couldn't use CPC funds last year to fix the high school roof but we can use them on a building that is not getting used and costs the tax payers thousands of dollars every year in upkeep, heat, electricity, and water. It boggles my mind that common sense is never used in town government, state government, and the federal government. It's decisions like this that waste taxpayer money and contribute to them asking us for more. It's time to start making FISCALLY RESPONSIBLE DECISIONS WITH OUR MONEY!


Put this building out to pasture and get rid of it. Remove the tar parking lot and turn it into a nice park type location that overlooks the water. It's time for Wareham to stop trying to rebuild the past and time for it to look to the future.

Posted by: watersprite | Feb 07, 2014 09:01

Many people probably don't understand how Community Preservation Act funds can be used.  First, to be used, they must be approved by the Community Preservation Committee and the Legislative Body (Town Meeting).  They can be used generally for the following limited uses:


May spend for specified community preservation purposes:

• Acquire, create and preserve open space.

• Acquire, preserve, rehabilitate and restore historic resources.

• Acquire, create and preserve land for recreational use.

• Acquire, create, preserve and support community housing, including

provide funds for the community's affordable housing trust fund.

• Rehabilitate and restore open space, land for recreational use, and

community housing acquired or created with fund monies.


Source: http://www.communitypreservation.org/DOR_Handout_4.2.11.pdf


The link explains the CPA program and should be read by anyone attending Town Meeting and voting on CPC-initiated warrants.


To Hissing Cobra's point, they could not be used for the High School Roof because the High School doesn't meet any of these criteria.  His other point about spending the fun responsibly is spot on.  Could CPC funds be used to tear down the building and convert it into more usable space.

Posted by: Janet | Feb 07, 2014 09:07

I think any use of the CPC funds should be a ballot question.  The CPC committee and the Town Meeting can be stacked to vote one way or not.  I also wonder how many other towns have such an organization the can require every home owner to "donate" a percentage of their tax dollars without any say at the polls?

Posted by: Janet | Feb 07, 2014 09:09

To repeat many posters    BURN BABY BURN

Posted by: Peter W. Teitelbaum | Feb 07, 2014 09:33

Please be advised that at its February 4, 2014 meeting, the Community Preservation Committee voted to table the request for $595,000 to repair the sprinkler system at Tremont Nail until at least the fall 2014 Town Meeting.


Accordingly, no funding request for the sprinkler system will be presented at the spring 2014 Town Meeting.  I was in attendance during Monday's Community Preservation Committee meeting and did mention their vote in my liaison report during this week's Selectmen's meeting, but it was at the end of a long night and was not picked up by any of the media present.

Posted by: Hissing Cobra | Feb 07, 2014 11:03

I should have mentioned that I did educate myself on the CPC funds last year when the High School needed their roof. It was at that point I learned "why" they weren't available to use in that instance.


I still find it ludicrous that tax payer money can be used to buy and rehabilitate old, unused buildings to "preserve" them and to also pay for their upkeep while those funds cannot be used to "preserve" an actual town owned building that is actually being used.


I guess that's what happens when a college educated person of power (state level), who's salary is paid by tax payer funds, can write a law that states how tax payer money can be spent. My point is this: Common sense never prevails and the powers that be keep asking the tax payers for more revenue in which to waste. If they're going to take our tax money they sure as hell should be using it wisely and have votes on major hot issues.

Posted by: bob | Feb 07, 2014 16:03


Posted by: Dick Paulsen | Feb 07, 2014 17:06

How about this for an idea. The next time it comes up to the BOS for considerations.



Posted by: Janet | Feb 08, 2014 08:11

The problem with going in front of the BOS is that you are only one opinion and we all know they do whatever "they" want, not neccesarily  what the majority wants.  Going before Town Meeting is also a no go cuz not enough people attend the meetings.  We need it to be a ballot question!

Posted by: MWF = Make Wareham Fail | Feb 08, 2014 08:49

Then you need to stop wasting your time here and head up to Boston to ask the legislature to change the way it's done, because they are the ones who wrote the law.

Posted by: bob | Feb 09, 2014 11:49


Posted by: totellthetruth | Feb 09, 2014 19:55

I don't know if BOBs comment is correct or not. But, if it is - I'll second that motion. Lets get the ball rolling.

Posted by: WantToSeeChange | Feb 09, 2014 23:27

Get rid of it to what end?  I'm sure you know that repealing this won't put this money into the town taxes.  It will go in your pocket.  It is a small amount to pay to have it available.  Hell, it got the town out of a legal issue to the tune of a million dollars already.  Do you want that ability to go away?  It is really a matter of getting the people at TM to NOT vote on the BS articles like buying the Tremont Nail building in the first place, NOT the money being used.  Get rid of it now and you will want it back in the future.  It will do the town NO good go get rid of it.  We will still be in the same situation.  You are shooting from the hip on this one with no bullets.  Then again, Bob talks of burning the building under darned near every article on here, so that is the mentality we are dealing with.  Get rid of the CPA funding and you will be footing these bills from the general funds.  Good Luck with that one.  We will still own the building.

Posted by: totellthetruth | Feb 10, 2014 07:26

Sorry Want: You don't just have a vote and eleiminate CPC. It takes a lot of planning . Very first thuing is: Put a moratorium on any future new requests for funds, next you determine how much money you will need to pay off the current debt that CPC already carries. i.e Tremont Nail mortagage, mortgages on properties, etc. You either set that money aside from current CPC funds, or keep the CPC levy in place until you can do so.

Then, you have to get all these modifications approved by the voters,then I'm sure it will have to be approved by the Leigislature.

This is my best estimate of the procedure you would follow.

CPC would be a lot easier to "swallow" if it was used for the benefit of TOWN owned property, not to renovate somebodies barroom, or condos,or buy somebodies private woodlot.


Posted by: WantToSeeChange | Feb 10, 2014 07:45

I have no idea how all that would work as far as going forward with the funds that exist in the accounts.  Sounds like a pretty convoluted situation.  If you want it to go to town owned property, all that has to happen is for someone to have an idea and bring it to CPC.  If it is viable, it will be brought to TM.  No one does that though.  It is a rather simple process, really.  Put a plan in place, bring it to the CPC board and see what people think.  We voted down the barroom.  That was a no brainer.  Buying someones private woodlot is a perfect use.  The money has to be set aside for open space anyways, so why not?  It is sitting there waiting to be spent.  Can't be used for the other projects.  I'm not familiar with your condo comment.  Perhaps I am, I'm just not following you.  Either way, the money CAN be put to good use, someone just needs a plan for it.  This is something that I would think the Selectmen could be more proactive about.

Posted by: totellthetruth | Feb 10, 2014 19:51

Just to clarify, W TSC:  The woodlot project I spoke of was back in aprrox. 2009, The landowners original proposal was to; somehow restrict public access, and to retain the right to cut firewood on the Public land.  The Condo project I spoke of was the chimney renovation project, last year in the lobby of Narrows Condos.

Posted by: MWF = Make Wareham Fail | Feb 10, 2014 20:52

There's more to the "woodlot" story.  It was actually a good sized forested parcel that town meeting agreed to buy.  The owners did not want to restrict anyone's access to the land.  They only wanted to be able to get a few cords of firewood off the property each year, and nobody cared about that.


Nobody that is except Bruce and Brenduh, who refused to sign the deed that would have let the owners take the small amount of wood.  The town ended up losing a quarter million dollar forestry grant that would have covered most of the cost to buy the land.

Posted by: totellthetruth | Feb 11, 2014 05:52

I seem to remember , in the original proposal, something about lack of parking spaces at the access point. I never heard mention of  a Forestry Grant. Also , Somebody must have cared about the wood, it don't believe it passed at TM.

Posted by: MWF = Make Wareham Fail | Feb 11, 2014 10:15

It did pass at TM, then the selectmen refused to sign the deed.  I think it all happened before 2009 though.

Posted by: totellthetruth | Feb 11, 2014 10:45

Didn't it come back at the next TM with provisions for 3 + parking spaces and the firewood clause deleted?  It passed then was sighned. The Parcel I'm thinking about is in the Little Harbor area near the Sacred Heart Seminary.

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