Non-profit to purchase property, faces hurdles at Town House
By Mike Melanson
PLYMPTON – A new non-profit organization plans to open a recovery house on Brook Street and wants to use town property for a September fund-raiser to benefit recovery programs.
Brook Retreat is a five- to nine-month residential spiritual retreat dedicated to helping addicts and alcoholics recover through the immediate and rigorous application of the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, although the retreat is not affiliated with AA.
It was founded in May by Tom Rielly, Michael Goedicke, and Joe Carroll, all recovered from a seemingly hopeless state of alcoholism and addiction, according to the retreat website www.thebrookretreat.com
On Wednesday Aug. 6, selectmen Chairman Mark Russo said the Brook Retreat needs permission from police, fire, Board of Health, highway surveyor and selectmen to hold a fund-raiser walk on Sept. 27.
The Board of Health took no action on the request on Tuesday, Aug. 5, and had questions about the walk route and the credentials of the food caterers, he said.
Russo said he met two young men in their 20s associated with the Brook Retreat who went through recovery programs and want to offer it to others. They seemed earnest and like they have their act together, he said.
Russo said they are moving forward with plans to buy a house at 55 Brook St, and plan to close this month.
“I hope the young men come in sometime to meet us. They seem like pretty nice young men,” he said.
Russo said they face hurdles inside and outside of the Town House, and they might face resistance from residential neighbors to a recovery house.
Selectmen will need more information on the fund-raiser, he said.
Selectman John Henry said the proponents in seeking permission for the recovery house should start at the beginning, and that selectmen should send them a letter saying they should start with zoning and work from there.
Lake Street logs
Selectman Colleen Thompson said she looked into complaints of a log pile near or in the road layout on Lake Street across the street from the Silver Lake chapel.
“I talked to the police department. They’re not happy with it, but they don’t see anything especially wrong with it. It’s not on a sharp curve. It’s not a threat to drivers,” she said.
Thompson said the highway surveyor indicated that the location needs to be surveyed and that it would cost $400 to recover the existing highway bounds and another $400 to have it staked.
Henry said he looked at it and the way the logs are stacked, they would not roll into the road. Thompson said some people are concerned that the logs could be an attractive nuisance, and that kids might climb on them.
Henry and Thompson said the property owner is a nice guy. Thompson said the owner has a mill there and tried to help someone by hiring them to dispose of the logs, but they left for another job.
Selectmen agreed to write a letter to the owner saying the board has received complaints, the logs should be removed as soon as possible, but that board would take no action.
Invasive maple tree
Selectmen voted, 3-0, to ask the tree warden to take down a maple tree that blocks a flag at half mast on the town green.
Russo said Plympton had three options: Trim the problem tree, cut the tree down, or reconsider the whole thing.
Russo said he favored trimming the problem tree.
Henry and Thompson said people still would not be able to see the flag at half mast even if the tree was trimmed. They said they favored taking down the tree.
Russo said the trees are planted symmetrically. Henry said taking out one tree would not raise too much concern. Thompson said trimming one side of a tree would look funny.
Getting priorities straight
Selectmen Wednesday discussed board priorities to present during a meeting of all boards and all departments to be held Aug. 25.
Russo presented a draft document listing 13 selectmen priorities and projects and assigning board members to lead the charge on each one.
Henry would work on seeking new revenue for the town and public safety building exploration.
Thompson would work on external communication, internal communication, an employee handbook, and regional partnerships.
Russo would work on promoting hospitable Town House ambience, encouraging volunteerism, updating bylaws and master planning, negotiating a Comcast license for Plympton and joining a regional community TV studio, a state Department of Revenue review of operations, and land use administration improvements.
Thompson or Russo, or both, would work on board and committee policy and procedure manuals.
Selectmen planned to discuss sending a letter to the boards and departments on Monday Aug. 11 asking them to develop a list of their priorities and be prepared to make short presentations and answer questions at the all-hands meeting Aug. 25, and to ask them what they would like to see come out of that meeting.
Selectmen are scheduled to meet again on Monday, Aug. 11, with an executive session for contract negotiations and an ongoing legal matter at 5:30 p.m. and open session at 6 p.m.