Accepting donations “sets a bad precedent,” Selectboard Chair Cheryl Mayberry stated. Board members, Steve Dalessio and Peggy Pschirrer agreed, explaining to accept a gift shows “the rich get their way.” Rejected May 6th was granite curbing to enhance both sides of the Town Common, a showplace enjoyed by residents and visitors alike for almost two centuries. The rejected proposed gift – nine hundred feet of curbing on Elm and Washington Streets – installed costs $18,000. The majority of the Village, called the quintessential New England Village by late author James Michener, is curbed in granite.

This decision is contrary to the intent of the Internal Revenue Code which encourages a “…contribution or gift to or for the use of a State, a possession of the United States, or any political subdivision of any of the foregoing but only if the contribution or gift is made for exclusively public purposes.” A community improvement, one that is out in front of everyone and every day, is not for a few, but certainly for the public benefit.

Recently many Walpole community improvements have been accomplished with donations from those who have had the ability and desire to be charitable. The Walpole Town Library was enlarged and renovated. In September 2016, private donations surpassed the goal of $80,000 to install a new playground at the Walpole Primary School. Contributions to purchase the Walker Road Property has protected 1,000 feet of Connecticut River frontage. The “Save Hooper” campaign raised private contributions to buy the easement on the Hooper property and save it from development. On the Town Common, the gazebo was a single private gift for the benefit of the community. “Dog poop” containers were contributed. The Veterans Memorial was gifted, and is visited by many residents and out of town guests. And trees to be enjoyed by all have been gifted to the Town for the Common, one going back a hundred years. Are we now entering an era where private generosity for community improvement in Walpole is being discouraged?



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  1. Stack James says:


    Sorry you are wrong on this one
    My opinion !
    Jim Stack

  2. Cheryl & Leroy Watson says:

    Ray, on two occasions, the Selectboard gave you the opportunity to present your case. It is more than reasonable for the Selectboard to have concluded that the value of the granite curbing would have primarily benefited the private property owners along Elm and Washington streets by increasing the curb appeal and value of those individual properties. That would be an opportunity unavailable to the majority of other residents in town. When Michener termed Walpole the “quintessential New England town”, we don’t think there was granite curbing on the Common. Therefore, Walpole’s quintessentialism is still intact without your proposal.

  3. Susan Johnson says:

    I support Ray. This is not the “rich getting their way”. Granite curbing increases the appeal of the street and also protects erosion .It is already along Main Street, why not the streets around our common as well. The trees around the common provide beauty and yes, enhance property values.
    Many gifted improvements in our town benefit all our property values. This includes Fanny Mason Forest and the Walker Rd property for hiking to all, the Whitcomb Recreation Park, Walpole Foundation, the Ken Burns Room at the library, a Gazebo to allow children a shady spot for a library story hour as well as the bank sponsored band concerts, and the Went Hubbard ball fields for all our baseball enthusiasts young and old, and all the places Ray has mentioned. All these things enhancethe value of our community for everyone’s benefit. I am sorry to see us starting to turn away gifts.

  4. Sheila Lennon says:

    I need to correct misinformation that I am guessing Cheryl and Leroy Watson received or assumed. (See their post above) As a licensed NH Realtor, as well as a residential owner on the Walpole Common, I am certain that lack of curbing, or having asphalt curbing or granite curbing in front of a home will have an affect on a Property’s appraised/assessed value. (This fact also confirmed by a licensed NH Appraiser.)
    Since we are the “Granite State”, and knowing granite curbing is much more sustainable than asphalt curbing, and more aesthetically pleasing, and was going to be a gift to the Town, I can’t imagine a good reason to decline such a donation that would have benefited the Walpole Community, as well as the many visitors to the Common all year long.
    Now more than ever, as Covid -19 restrictions are being lifted, and the Spring weather is here, we are all looking forward to outside gatherings with one another. The Walpole Common has been historically the place designated for public gatherings for centuries and caring for and keeping this green parcel and the roadways/sidewalks around it beautiful is both a duty and an honor. Perhaps upon reflection, the Select Board might reconsider their decision to decline a private donation which would have added to the beautification of the Common and instead say “Thank You” on behalf of the Town.

  5. Susan Johnson says:

    Thank you Sheila!

    • Sheila Lennon says:

      In my original post above I made an error by not including the word “not”. That sentence should have read “As a licensed NH Realtor, as well as a residential owner on the Walpole Common, I am certain that lack of curbing, or having asphalt curbing, or granite curbing
      in front of a home will not have an affect on a Property’s appraised/assessed value.
      I apologize for this typo. (This fact also confirmed with a licensed NH Appraiser.)

  6. Peter Johnson says:

    I took a walk around the common and I noticed the granite curbing in front of the town hall and former Catholic Church. I see where Ray would like to add to it at his cost not out of the town funds. The selectmen are short sighted in turning down gifts to the town this will effect the potential gifts to the town from wealthy citizens in the future. Other towns gladly accept gifts from people who are able with pleasure. My wife and I have supported gifts in Swanzey with a simple thank you from their progressive selectmen.

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