March 9 forum seeks new ideas for Tremont Nail future

By Matthew Bernat | Mar 01, 2017

Planning officials will seek public comment on redeveloping the former Tremont Nail Factory District, reigniting a debate among residents who view the property as either a boondoggle or a fixer-upper with commercial potential.

All are invited to the session, scheduled for March 9 at 7 p.m. in the Town Hall auditorium.

Director of Planning & Community Development Ken Buckland said residents should come ready to learn more about the project, which has new life after receiving a $50,000 state grant, and share what they want to see happen at the site, located on Elm St.

The money is coming from MassDevelopment, a state agency with a track record of revamping blighted properties. Buckland noted MassDevelopment’s flagship project is the redevelopment of Fort Devens in central Massachusetts from a former military base into a thriving community.

Buckland said the agency saw promise in the Tremont Nail Factory District.

The Tremont Nail Company, which since 1819 had manufactured cut nails and other products, sold the 7.2-acre site to the Town of Wareham in 2004. The site was purchased using Community Preservation Act funds. The Community Preservation Act is a Massachusetts law that allows participating cities and towns to adopt a real estate tax surcharge, supplemented by state matching funds in order to fund community preservation.

Since then, the property has languished, attracting few tenants and drawing ire from residents tired of town funds being used to maintain the eight buildings on the property.

Buckland suggested that perhaps the newest building on the site, which Atlantic Boats, Inc. most recently used for auxiliary storage, could house a small, 3D printing operation. A larger business, such as a craft brewery, may be suitable for the original factory building, he said.

However, Buckland said officials are interested in listening to what residents have to say about the site’s future.

Comments (18)
Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Mar 01, 2017 14:48

First dibs should go to The Massachusetts Firefighting Academy to be used for educational purposes.  There is no better use for that old polluted factory with a failing dam.   

Posted by: Doctor Deekas | Mar 01, 2017 15:05

Ken, let Mass Development keep their 50K firstly. Then, as part of the 4th of July festivities, we can have the Wareham Militia fight the British Redcoats in Downtown Wareham. Then, the "Nimrod" can re-enact attacking Tremont Nail and setting it ablaze. The Wareham militia drive back the Redcoats and the fireworks erupt over Onset Bay! One helluva 4th of July and Independence Day, from the nightmare on Elm Street!

Posted by: Andrea Smith | Mar 01, 2017 15:52

With one end of the access road to the Nail Factory barricaded to traffic because of an unsafe bridge and a dam within close proximity that has been labeled in dangerous condition and at risk of a life threatening breach, why would anyone consider the property a good investment at this time?

Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Mar 01, 2017 17:58

We can comment and complain about the old factory that used to make nails on here forever.  That's just preaching to the choir.  Showing up at the forum on the 9th and speaking would be more effective.  I cannot believe that there wasn't enough opposition to the original purchase in 2004.  The Tremont Nail people must have laughed their way to the bank after that ill-fated purchase.


Who in their right mind thought it was a good idea to buy that place? Probably hopeless romantic history buffs with no sense of reality?  The questionable dam existed then.  It wasn't closed yet but it was obviously aged.  The ground was contaminated then.  The building was located in a flood zone then.  The building was an outdated structure then.  What were they thinking?  Thats just a few major points.  The list of negatives is endless:  Structure, moisture, air quality, electrical, fire systems, sewer, water, handicapped access, environmental, egress, elevator, mold, heat, ventilation...I can keep going.

Posted by: bob | Mar 01, 2017 18:22

WBTS,,the town people were taken ,by the smart talking selectboard,and there pitch of matching funds from the state and the great vision that this hell hole was going to bring great things to the town..Well the tax payer got nailed,as 99% of the CPA projects that have been since our purchased of this oil soiled grounds and building..Get rid of the CPA TAX....

Posted by: Doctor Deekas | Mar 02, 2017 10:19

In 2004, Renee Abbott and Mary Jane Pillsbury convinced us all that this would be a good purchase. The Nail Factory was still operating under a lease in the building. But in typical Wareham fashion, we were hoodwinked at Town Meeting on a pet project to save 'history' in Wareham. Tremont Nail came to the end of their lease less than 2 years later and left Town. The rest is 'history'! What we should have been smarter about back then is asking the questions about why we would want to acquire a piece of property that you know would have been polluted with contaminants in the soil, from manufacturing over the 100 years. Now we have a piece of pollution we can't sell or dig up (cost prohibitive)....

Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Mar 02, 2017 10:44

Wow.  That is all that I can say.  It is disheartening that such a major short-sighted decision was made.


Aside from preserving the history of old nails, is there anything positive about this?


How do we walk away from it?  Surrender it to the State or something.  I don't know much about that type of procedure but I do know that there is nothing good about keeping it.

Posted by: Dick Paulsen | Mar 02, 2017 14:20

Ah, and something else to at least thing about.  About six years ago, the CPA asked for, and received, Town Meting permission to "study" what might be done.  That bill, remarkably, was also $50,000. And there it sits, gathering dust. It's a very nice study, replete with charts and graphs. So, now another $50,000. And there is a place already reserved for it.  And five or six years from now?


A better name for "grant," is your-tax-dollars-going-to-a-bureaucrat-who-takes-his-share-and-sends-some-back.  Admittedly, that is not quite as catchy, and one does have to be mindful of that, we do want to keep things simple.


"But, Mr Paulsen, if we don't take the money, someone else will."


Right.  And that is just what the politicians, and their beauracratic allies are banking on, keep the wheel turning


If you want a project, go over an look at the housing for the elderly. Then corral the CPA, CEDA and the state, put them in a room, lock the door, and don't let them out until they come up with a comprehensive plan, that includes multi-year funding, to rehabilitate the whole complex.

Posted by: greycat | Mar 02, 2017 15:40

If memory serves, the town bought the nail factory the same night the town bought the swamp near Bryant's Farm, AND adpoted a wetlands bylaw.  Coincidence?

Posted by: Knocked for six | Mar 03, 2017 09:18

It's sales pitch !

Posted by: Steve Holmes | Mar 03, 2017 10:08

There has been a group of college folks working at this site, and exploring potential uses. OK maybe the Town should not have bought the property in the first place, that was before my time. SO lets get past that for a moment and look to the future. I have always said this property would make a great transportation center, bus, train etc. Small shops could set up, just like in other places. Its the only place in Town that has enough parking, so that we could allow over night parking for the business traveler, and others. A badly needed resource, because there are none on the Middleboro line, I believe the closest is Brockton. I hope they show up and give their presentation at the meeting. There is one sticking point, when the Town bought the land at Town Meeting the voters put restrictions on use, one of those was using it as a transportation center. So if the right minds could pull it off you would need to go back to Town Meeting to lift those. The need for overnight parking is real, and the Town could make a small fortune on that one piece alone. Stop fixating on the old train station. This property COULD generate a lot of income to the Town. I know its a sore spot with many, but it seems the new Planner is looking to do something and make something positive happen.

Posted by: Spherebreaker | Mar 03, 2017 10:45

Lets make it an ICE detention center. They are presently looking for locations. As they round up illegals they can keep them there until they are deported.

Posted by: barnstorm | Mar 04, 2017 07:47

Unfortunately for us, AG Maura Healy and the Democrats on Beacon Hill are presently working on passing a bill that will make us a sanctuary State. They have enough votes to override a veto by Gov.Baker to make this happen. Army cots and a soup kitchen for all the illegals in housing  at Tremont Nail, paid for by raising state tax from 6% to 10% will happen! Actually, I agree with Steve Holmes idea.....trying to recoup some of the monies already wasted on this debacle makes a lot of sense. His proposal is the best one I've heard so far.

Posted by: Uptohere | Mar 04, 2017 10:46

I refuse to live in a "sanctuary state". If those #%#^*+ pass that crap be sure I will do my best to have any and all illegals deported and those unAmerica traitors disbarred and removed from office.

Posted by: Rosebud | Mar 04, 2017 19:47

Steve Holmes' idea is a good one.

Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Mar 05, 2017 09:18

Steve's idea is a good one.  Like he implied,  the damage is done and we need to move forward.  Ranting and raving about past bad decisions ain't solvin nuthin...


I have a couple questions.  Will this transportation center require a clean slate?  Meaning all structures removed. There goes all the history so I'm sure that will generate opposition.


Even after the dam is fixed there will still be risk associated with relying on a dam.  In addition to that, the property is still in a coastal flood zone? I believe it is a FEMA AE14 or something.  That means the ocean can flood it from the opposite direction of the dam.  Many restrictions apply to new construction and use within a flood zone.  Anybody trying to build or do work on their houses or businesses in a flood zone in Wareham can attest to that!


Can a transportation center be located below a dam and in a coastal flood zone?

Posted by: Steve Holmes | Mar 06, 2017 11:23

Actually the presentation they made to the BOS kept, and used all buildings on the property. Its perfect for the train as the rail runs right along side the property, and it's far enough from the suggested station in Buzzards Bay. Buses and other forms of transportation would also be included, and with the right dining options we would entice the Cape rides to stop so folks can grab a bite, I have not lost my mind, but looking to the future this could be a great destination, keeping and developing some of the nail factory history, folks would visit just for that reason alone. With the overnight parking, being available, it would be a gold mine, using the electronic gates it would not require much human intervention. If Andrea is reading this I am sure she can find the link to the presentation, (she is great at that stuff) I will try to remember the dates going back through my notebooks. I am not sure if that group is still working on their project, but I do believe they are. There is talk of doing a train station closer to the new mall, but I think we should be pushing to develop this property since we own it, and we could manage it, and keep the badly needed revenue for the Town. Maybe an idea would be to use CEDA as the management team like we do with some other things we own, like the day care center. I just hate to see development happening on the transportation front, and we have a perfect location we own, and not use it. I know Alan loves the original train stop, and this land currently cannot be used as a transportation center but we could change that at Town Meeting. Complete with food shops and other kiosks designed for the traveler. There could also be a trolley of some sort set up to go between the center and main street so folks could visit the shops there too. I will also search for the presentation it is well worth taking the time to watch it.

Posted by: Steve Holmes | Mar 06, 2017 11:57

That was easier than I thought here is  the link to the meeting scroll down to the Board of Selectman meeting of May 21, 2013 the presentation starts at the 41.55 time during the meeting. Worth the viewing.

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