HARVARD -- Selectmen at their meeting Tuesday night appointed seven people who applied for as many seats on the newly created Hildreth House Improvement Committee.
Four of the seven applicants showed up: David Vannicola, Connie Larrabee, Fran Nickerson and Richard Blinn.
Pat Jennings, Laura Andrews and Ann Taylor couldn't make it, Chairman Lucy Wallace said.
Although the board's policy now is not to appoint committee members in absentia, the three missing hopefuls had good reasons for not being there, Wallace said. Jennings was in Hawaii, Andrews had a "conflict" that night, and Taylor is unavailable on Tuesdays.
All three of the absent applicants are well known in town for their civic and volunteer activities, Wallace said. Taylor formerly served on the School Committee.
Selectman Ron Ricci said he was satisfied they were all qualified and that their excuses were valid.
A motion to seat all seven candidates passed.
Parameters for the new group's makeup were set when the committee was created and the call went out to submit letters of interest. At that time the selectmen decided it would consist of seven members with skills sets related to the designated task, such as architectural and building expertise, municipal finance and private fundraising experience and knowledge of senior needs.
Charged with recommending a viable and affordable improvement plan to repair and renovate the venerable building as a
Sharing his qualifications, Vannicola said he had studied architecture at Carnegie-Mellon and worked for a famous firm building deckhouses for 26 years, 12 as a senior designer. He has worked on projects all over the world, he said. Plus, he's a senior himself.
Connie Larrabee said she's lived in town since 1972 and chairs the Council on Aging, on which she has served for five or six years. "I've spent a lot of time thinking about Hildreth House ... how to make it as user-friendly as possible," she said.
Fran Nickerson has served on the COA for six years. Her interest in building design was sparked during construction of her own home, when she observed and worked with the architect, she said. An accountant and bookkeeper by profession, she's concerned with ensuring that Hildreth House is accessible, she said.
Richard Blinn, at age 57, isn't a senior yet, but he's been a builder for 30 years and worked on Hildreth House in the past. Noting his affinity for the stately Victorian house on the hill behind Town Hall, Blinn said he is also an artist and a taxpayer and would contribute those interests, talents and skills to the planning process.