Council says yes to new Barrington Hall of Fame

Officials debate cost for hall of fame, number of inductees

By Josh Bickford
Posted 10/13/19

The town manager pitched his idea for creating a Barrington Heritage Hall of Fame at the town council meeting earlier this month. And after a few minutes of discussion, members of the council voted …

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Council says yes to new Barrington Hall of Fame

Officials debate cost for hall of fame, number of inductees

Posted

The town manager pitched his idea for creating a Barrington Heritage Hall of Fame at the town council meeting earlier this month. And after a few minutes of discussion, members of the council voted it through.

Barrington Town Manager Jim Cunha said the Barrington Heritage Hall of Fame would recognize people who have made significant contributions to Barrington. The folks who are selected would receive a plaque in their honor, and their names would be entered onto a larger plaque that would be displayed for all to see. Mr. Cunha said his idea included holding an annual dinner to honor each year's inductees.

"I think it would be a great community building idea," said Mr. Cunha. "I think it's a great idea for our community."

Council member Kate Weymouth said the Barrington Heritage Hall of Fame was a lovely idea, but questioned who would pay for it — the plaques, and the dinner.

Mr. Cunha said the town would cover the costs associated with the new hall of fame; he believed $500 per year would be enough. Inductees would attend the dinner for free, he said, but all other attendees would need to pay for a ticket.

Ms. Weymouth continued to question some of the costs, but council president Michael Carroll said those details could be worked out at a later time. He said the first issue was deciding whether the hall of fame was a good idea. 

Ms. Weymouth again said the hall of fame was a great idea, but added that she was concerned that the selection process could fall prey to politics. She then questioned whether five inductees per year — a number suggested by Mr. Cunha — would be too much. Council member Jacob Brier appeared to agree with Ms. Weymouth. He said five inductees might be good for the first year, but wondered if it would be better to have two inductees for each year following, suggesting that they might eventually run short of worthy candidates. 

Council member Steve Boyajian said he believed each class should have more than two inductees. He then mentioned a former Barrington resident who died in a revolutionary war battle — he said the town has 300 years of names to consider for possible inductees.

Mr. Brier also seemed concerned with the potential cost of a recognition dinner. He asked if it would be better to hold a barbecue — possibly on Memorial Day — to induct the selections for the new hall of fame.

Mr. Cunha countered, saying that the town could use the new middle school auditorium and offer refreshments following. Mr. Carroll said the town should not use Memorial Day as the date for the event.

Selection process

Members of the town council spent some time discussing the selection process. Mr. Cunha suggested that he would appoint a committee of 10 residents who would review nomination forms — anyone could nominate a person for the hall of fame — and the council would later approve the slate of inductees who were recommended by the committee. 

Ms. Weymouth said she thought it might prove awkward having the council approve the inductees.

Mr. Carroll said having a governing body — in this case, the council — endorse or approve the selections would give the hall of fame more credibility. As for potentially rejecting a selection, he thought that might be a bit odd. 

Council member Joy Hearn asked if there should be some set of criteria for the hall of fame. She said she wanted to keep the focus on residents of Barrington, rather than former residents.

Ms. Weymouth said she too liked the idea of developing criteria. 

Mr. Carroll again said details about the hall of fame could be decided at a later point. But before voting 5-0 to approve the new hall of fame, council members once again asked if inductees should be approved by the council. 

"What if it was someone who sued the town?" asked Ms. Weymouth. 

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