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Townsend resident unhappy with planned gazebo restoration

Townsend’s historic gazebo is located at the center of the Town Common.
Townsend’s historic gazebo is located at the center of the Town Common.

TOWNSEND — Late last year, Townsend was granted $50,000 of American Rescue Plan Act funding to put toward the restoration of the gazebo that sits on the Town Common. Not everyone was happy about it, however.

Albert “Tubby” Boucher, a member of the Townsend Cemetery & Parks Department, said the project would change too much about the historic bandstand.

“Restoration has always been very limited, nothing but a facelift,” Boucher said. “Then it was maybe we can do this and that, and I said ‘wait a minute, we’re getting carried away here.’”

Built in 1895, the town’s gazebo is one of the oldest in the country and, according to Boucher, is an integral part of Townsend’s identity. It is even depicted on the town’s flag.

“It’s the heartbeat of the town,” Boucher said. “It’s been that way for over 100 years, when they had a gathering (the gazebo) is where they met!”

“It’s so hard to work with people that don’t know the history behind it,” Boucher said.

Boucher referenced a recent, similar project in Pepperell and said that some people “weren’t happy” with the restoration. He said any restoration work should leave the gazebo looking as authentic as possible.

When asked about the project, Board of Selectmen Clerk Chaz Sexton-Diranian, declined to comment.

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