Hamilton Votes to Accept Patton Estate Gift
Voters at Hamilton Town Meeting on Saturday morning voted to accept the gift of the Patton estate on Asbury Street.
Hamilton voters overwhelmingly accepted the gift of the Patton estate on Saturday morning at Hamilton Town Meeting.
Voters rejected a move to hold off on accepting the gift that would have sent it back to the Patton Family Gift Committee for further study to make sure the gift does not cost the town any money.
While the Patton Family Gift Advisory Committee has been meeting for several months to come up with a plan on how the property will be best put to use, the Town Meeting vote was to simply accept the 27 acre property on upper Asbury Street.
In all, voters spent exactly 45 minutes listening to a presentation from Stacy Carpenter, a member of the Patton Family Gift Advisory Committee, and later discussing and voting.
The homestead and surrounding property was home to General George S. Patton and later Major General George S. Patton IV, whose widow, Joanne Patton, has offered the property to the town. The neighboring Green Meadows Farm, which was started by Major General Patton, is not part of the gift and will not be affected.
Chebacco Road resident Bill Dery offered a motion to have the Patton Family Gift Committee continue to review the gift and come up with a business plan for the property that would ensure that it not cost the town any money.
Dery's motion drew support from former Selectman Bill Bowler, who said that the gift needs to be studied further, including a closer examination of how a housing development could be included on the property. That, he said, would provide the needed revenue fund any of the other planned uses on the property, including playing fields and a bed and breakfast.
Joanne Patton, herself, addressed the meeting, saying that she thought it would be her last Hamilton Town Meeting since she will be moving just up the road - but into neighboring Topsfield.
"I'm not going to tell you how to vote - I know how I am going to vote," Patton said.
Before the vote former state representative Forrester "Tim" Clark said that town had been offered a piece of history and should take it.
"We are going to be the laughing stock of America if we do not accept this gift," Clark said. "This is a wonderful gift that has been offered to us; To turn it down would be ridiculous."
Clark emphasized the important historical value the property, noting that on a recent trip to South Africa he was asked about Senator Ted Kennedy and General George Patton.
Turnout at Town Meeting was 296 voters, unofficially, or 5.2 percent of the registered voters, according to Town Clerk Jane Wetson.