Joanne Patton was honored Monday morning by the “Wreaths Across America” traveling memorial, just hours before town officials unveiled her plan to donate her home and more than two dozen acres to the town.
Patton, the daughter-in-law of Gen. George S. Patton, has been discussing with Town Manager Michael Lombardo the possibility of donating her upper Asbury Street home and 27 acres to the town.
The donation was publicly announced for the first time when the Hamilton Board of Selectmen met on Monday night.
“We’ve been discussing this for several months,” Lombardo said as part of a 10-minute presentation to Selectmen.
Now is the time to draw the full community in to the discussion, Lombardo said., The donation would require Board of Selectmen and Town Meeting approval in May.
“She would like to give it to the town for broader public use,” Lombardo said.
The donation would not affect .
Patton has asked for several commitments from town officials in a gift agreement, including that the donation not be a financial burden to the town.
A preliminary plan drawn up shows playing field on a portion of the property as well as a “modest housing component,” which would help with the promise for it not to cause a financial burden, Lombardo said.
“What a wonderful gift from Joanne Patton,” said Selectmen Chairman Jennifer Scuteri.
Selectman Jeff Hubbard called Patton “a treasure” and called the donation an “extraordinary opportunity for our town.”
Selectmen will meet in a working session next Monday to undergo a detailed look at a proposed gift agreement.
Hours earlier, Patton was honored during the “Wreaths Across America” tour’s stop at the . Later, she took part in a ceremony where a wreath was placed in , named for her father-in-law.
For the past two years, the tour – which is headed from Maine to Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C. with thousands of donated wreaths -.
The trip route changed this year but included Patton in the lunchtime stop in Topsfield.