Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Roy Seeks Funds for Horace Mann Statue, Park

In his April 2015 newsletter, State Representative Jeff Roy announced that included in the FY16 budget that the House passed this spring is $50,000 in state funding for the Horace Mann statue and park. The budget still has to pass the Senate. 

The statue and park will occupy 1,000 square feet at the corner of Emmons and West Central street in downtown Franklin. Last week the Town Council appointed a planning committee, which includes FDP Executive Director Lisa Piana, to oversee the project. Click here to read more about the committee. 

The corner of Emmons and West Central streets;
future site of the Horace Mann statue and park. 

Below is a Milford Daily News story from May 11 about the planning efforts so far:

Franklin: Rep Roy seeks funds for Horace Mann statue

FRANKLIN — State Rep. Jeffrey Roy hopes to secure $50,000 for the town to use toward building a sculpture and small gathering place dedicated to Horace Mann, the state’s first secretary of education and an influential reformer who laid the groundwork for the country’s public schools system. 
Roy, D-Franklin, pushed through an amendment to the state’s $38 billion budget - passed by the House last month - providing the funding for a “Horace Mann Park” on the corner of Emmons Street. Now the Senate must debate and pass the budget. 
Born on a small farm in Franklin in 1796, Horace Mann is often referred to as “The Father of American Education." In 1837, Mann was elected secretary of the state’s Board of Education, according to the Massachusetts Historical Society; he would later help establish the first normal public schools in the United States, in Bridgewater and Lexington. 
The tiny park was envisioned during the negotiations last year to sell the town-owned property at 150 Emmons St. 
When Franklin developer Roger Calarese finally purchased the parcel in January, he agreed to grant the town a roughly 1,000 square-foot easement for the sculpture and surrounding green space. 
Roy’s office had been in touch with Concord artist Bob Shure, who designed the Benjamin Franklin statue at the town's library, to determine what it might cost to build a Horace Mann sculpture. 
“He (Shure) provided us with several alternative designs and some cost information to assist with the budget amendment,” Roy explained. 
Roy has long supported the idea of a statue honoring Mann — similar to the one erected in 1865 that graces the Statehouse's south lawn. 
“It’s nice to see that this dream is getting closer to reality,” he said. 
According to an early history of Franklin published in 1878, townspeople regarded Mann as a famous native son. Written by Mortimer Black, “A History of the Town of Franklin Mass.” includes an excerpt from Mann’s personal journal, penned after he became secretary of education. 
“I now stand in a new relation to the world,” Mann wrote. “Hence-forth, as long as I hold this office, I devote myself to the supremest welfare of mankind upon earth." 
Matt Tota can be reached at 508-634-7521 or mtota@wickedlocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @MattTotaMDN.