ITEM PHOTO BY OWEN O’ROURKE
Chairman of the Board of Selectman Richard Lombard is running for re-election.
By BRIDGET TURCOTTE
NAHANT — Richard Lombard holds the record for the longest-serving selectman in Nahant’s history and is running for reelection.
Lombard, who serves as chairman of the Board of Selectmen, said he needs one more term to finish what he set out to do 38 years ago.
“I have one more project to do and that’s the beautification of the town’s entrance,” he said. “That is one of my major projects.”
Town Clerk Margaret Barile said Lombard has served longer than any other selectman, including Charles Kelley, who was a selectman for 33 years until he died at the age of 61.
Kelley led an effort to revitalize the town’s golf course and develop remedies for a flooding problem on the property. After his death, it was named Kelley Greens.
“He was one of the longest-serving selectmen in the Town of Nahant,” Lombard said. “He served with me, and the things that happened, I wish I wrote a book. He was hysterical. He was quick witted and very, very smart. I learned a lot from him.”
Their time on the board overlapped for about a decade, while Lombard was starting out.
Lombard said establishing The Charles Kelley Memorial is one of the accomplishments he is most proud of from his tenure. He also headed efforts to create Veterans Park in 2008 and the Richard Davis Memorial on East Point overlooking the ocean. Davis, a U.S. Marine, was the only Nahant resident to be killed in the Vietnam War, he said, though more than 70 were wounded.
Lombard, a veteran himself, served in the U.S. Marine Corps for four years. He was stationed in North Carolina and spent 14 months in Dong Ha, Vietnam.
Until the 1992 Town Administrator Act establishing the position of the town administrator for the town of Nahant, the Board of Selectmen was responsible for running the town, said Lombard.
“Without volunteers, this town wouldn’t function,” he said. “The Board of Selectmen, Finance Committee, Conservation Committee and Board of Assessors — they’re all volunteers.”
Lombard initiated beautification efforts immediately after joining the panel, he said. He’s proud to have been a part of the revitalization of the Causeway. Sen. Thomas McGee, state Rep. Brendan Crighton and Rep. Seth Moulton helped secure a $22 million grant for the project.
Now that the Causeway has been enhanced, Lombard is on a mission to change the look of the entrance to town.
The Short Beach Master Plan includes burying above ground electrical wires in Little Nahant from Seaside Pizza on Nahant Road to the Nahant Police Station and eliminating poles on the ocean side. Overgrown weeds behind the park will be cleaned out. A Memorial Pond will be uncovered. The road leading into town will be lined with trees and benches. Gas lamps will replace existing light poles.
He hopes to find grants to help fund the project, he said.
But his experience ranges further than his selectman duties. Lombard has served on the Advisory Finance Committee, Memorial Day Committee, Nahant Lions Club, Short Beach Master Plan Committee, as commander of the American Legion, the Little League Committee, as a Babe Ruth coach, and had an unexpected 15-year stint as chairman of the 4th of July Committee when the former leader stepped down a week before the holiday.
“I’ve enjoyed serving the people in the town of Nahant — they’re just great people,” Lombard said.
Resident Stephen Viviano has taken out papers to run against Lombard, but has not yet returned them, according to Barile.
The election will be April 29, the same day as the Annual Town Meeting.
Bridget Turcotte can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @BridgetTurcotte.