CUMBERLAND â€“ Town Councilman Manuel N. DaCosta left no doubt Thursday morning that town plans to place a new public safety complex on land at the town-owned monastery property off Diamond Hill Road is a highlight issue of the campaign for mayor.
DaCosta, who is running against fellow Town Council member William Murray and Daniel Alves, a former Town Councilman, in a three-way contest of Democrats to replace outgoing Mayor Daniel J. McKee, held a press conference at the monastery to announce his opposition to new town construction at the monastery and also to challenge his opponents to state their own positions on the matter.
DaCosta concluded his remarks to a small gathering of supporters at the entrance to the Cumberland Public Library in what remains of the former Cistercian Monastery of Our Lady of the Valley off Diamond Hill Road.
The monastery was largely destroyed by a 1950 fire but the town ultimately acquired its remaining structures and the 524 acres of its grounds through open space purchases in the 1960s and 1970s.
The townâ€™s move to put ballot questions seeking permission to locate a $12.5 million public safety complex on 10 acres of the monastery lands opposite the U.S. Post Office at Chapel Four Corners has already resulted in the organization of a community group, the monastery Preservation Alliance, seeking to have another location selected.
(Note: The council voted 4-3 last Thursday night to put the measure before voters. DaCosta was one of three council members opposed, while Murray voted in favor.)
Full story appears on page A1 of Friday's Times and Friday's Call.