PROVINCETOWN — A $100,000 grant request to help pay for the ambitious restoration of the Schooner Hindu is one of a handful of applications that will be up for discussion during the community preservation committee’s annual pre-town meeting hearing at 1 p.m. on Monday.
The committee is expected to make its decisions on the applications either at the meeting or shortly thereafter. Only those projects that win the committee’s support will proceed to town meeting for a vote.
This year’s requests total a little over a half million dollars. Besides the Hindu request, other big-ticket applications include $100,000 for the town’s recreation dept. for development of a master plan for Motta Field; $100,000 to assist low-to-moderate-income home owners with critical repairs; and $100,000 toward the proposed development of 62 units of affordable rentals in Orleans.
Designed by William Hand Jr. and built in 1925 by Hodgdon Brothers in East Boothbay, Maine, the wooden schooner Hindu has been sailing in Provincetown Harbor since 1947.
Her early history includes voyages to India for the spice trade and a stint in the “Hooligan Navy” during World War II, when yacht owners and fishermen patrolled the eastern seaboard for German U-boats under the direction of the Coast Guard.
Captain Al Avellar purchased the Hindu after the war and brought her back to Provincetown, where she was refurbished and embarked on a career of pleasure cruises. After changing hands a few times over the ensuing decades, the schooner was bought in 2011 by the Rowan family, who continued the business.
Plans for a major restoration of the 95-year-old Hindu were already in the works when a bizarre accident in Long Island Sound last July nearly sank her. The schooner collided with a submerged yacht.
Josh Rowan, the captain and Hindu Charters president, has since brought the schooner to Maine where she is being rebuilt by hand in Thomaston, using the original designs from 1925. The project carries a $500,000 price tag.
Insurance payments from last summer’s accident put only $120,000 toward the work and a GoFundMe page, “Promise to the Schooner Hindu,” has so far contributed another $45,000, leaving the owners far from reaching their goal.
The money from the town’s community preservation account would go toward replacing the deck, covering the cost of Burmese teak planks and other materials plus labor. While all the new framing will be concealed under the planking of the hull, Rowan said in a phone interview that he had picked improvements that would be visible to the public for the grant request.
When the Hindu is on the water, “she is spellbinding,” Rowan said. “There is this magic about her that takes everybody who goes aboard her back in time.”
The restoration should be finished by December or a few months after that, in time for the 2022 season in Provincetown, he said.
Several letters of support accompany the application. Susan and Mary-Jo Avellar, granddaughters of Al Avellar, wrote that the Hindu “is a daily reminder of our town’s glorious fishing and maritime history.”
The aim of a $100,000 funding request from the recreation dept. and recreation commission is to explore what the public sees as the best use of Motta Field and put together a master plan for the work. Currently, the field, owned by the town since the 1950s, features three tennis courts, a T-ball field, and a picnic area. The property is in need of many renovations, said the recreation dept. in its application, but the work should be done “in a coordinated way that reflects the needs of the community.”
A large chunk of Motta Field was donated by the state in 1953 for athletic and playground use, but there are potential improvements that could attract more people. The department hopes to hire a consultant who would survey residents and use the results to direct a final plan for the property. The department would use that plan to apply for state grant money and town capital improvement funding.
Affordable Housing in Orleans
Seven towns on the Lower and Outer Cape will be asked for $100,000 each in community preservation funds to help cover the cost of a $28-million project proposed for the former Cape Cod Five property in Orleans. Pennrose Development plans to build a complex of 52 affordable units, which will be rented to households making less than 60 percent of the area median income, and 10 workforce apartments for households earning up to 120 percent of the area median income. A comprehensive permit application for the project is currently being considered by the Orleans Zoning Board of Appeals.
It’s not unheard of to ask neighboring towns to support housing this way. Pennrose was the developer of Eastham’s 65-units of affordable rentals in the Village at Nauset Green. Wellfleet and Orleans each chipped in $100,000 for that project.