Members of the public get a chance to see the Beautification Committee’s concept for a Town Green and share their views at a hearing of the Historic District Commission at 8:00 on Wednesday evening, August 7, in the Town Hall Meeting Room.
If you cannot make the meeting, you can at least get the general idea by downloading this PDF file. The slides have already been presented to the Board of Selectmen, Planning and Zoning Commission, and in earlier meetings of the Historic District Commission.
The Beautification Committee has been hard at work for many months improving the appearance of the Town Hall campus. The committee’s co-chair, Nancy Thiel, has taken the lead in creating the Town Green plan. Ms. Thiel, a ten-year Weston resident, is a prominent architect whose firm, Thiel Architecture + Design, operates in town.
Except for the cost of lampposts and signs, the entire cost of the project is to be paid for with donations. Once all approvals are secured, a fundraising drive will be launched. Ms. Thiel is confident of its success.
Ms. Thiel says town greens serve many purposes, and this one is designed to be a place to “gather, delight, remember, and honor.” She said the idea to create the green was inspired by a Barbara Lawless mural (below) that graces a Town Hall foyer.
Prints of this mural are available for purchase at Town Hall.
The basic idea is to create more lawn space and gardens, build an oval walkway in front of Town Hall and tie it in to new sidewalks that will soon be built, install new benches, new lampposts, and new signage. The existing Memorial Garden would be moved a short distance to a more appealing spot, improved with plantings, and have new memorials added.
The oval walkway will be made of low-maintenance permeable material already in use at Waveny Park. Once connected to the sidewalks network, the campus will be significantly more accessible to those with physical disabilities.
Ms. Thiel, her colleagues on Beautification, and her design team have been noticeably attentive to detail, referencing greens in many other towns and meticulously selecting specifications for benches, lampposts, and signs.
In the course of the work, a side benefit emerged. The team unearthed something largely — perhaps universally — unknown about Weston: its birthday.
Inspired by nothing more than Ms. Thiel’s curiousity, an exhaustive search of old records revealed that Weston was founded on October 11, 1787.
“The Town Green will be a great place to celebrate all kinds of town events,” Ms. Thiel told the Board of Selectmen in early June. She said the design would provide a community space for everything from live music to book fairs, movies, and a town picnic.
The Selectmen have enthusiastically embraced the proposal. Planning and Zoning has also given its OK. Because the Town Hall campus is in the Norfield Historic District, the Historic District Commission must issue a certificate of appropriateness, a finding that the new Town Green, in the words of State statute, is “not incongruous” with the historic characteristics of the district.