DRACUT -- It's official: Harmony Hall will be renamed after the late Harvey J. Gagnon.
The Board of Selectmen on Tuesday voted 4-0 to make the change in honor of the former Dracut Historical Society president who died March 1. During their meeting they also praised the late Gagnon for his deep commitment to the town of Dracut. Selectman Tami Dristiliaris was absent.
The hall will now be named Harvey J. Gagnon Harmony Hall.
Gagnon, 87, was considered the driving force behind some of the town's most important historic-preservation projects -- including Harmony Hall's move years ago from the intersection of Lakeview Avenue and Mammoth Road to its current site adjacent to the historical society at 1660 Lakeview Ave.
"I think there couldn't be a more fitting tribute to a man who gave so much to this town, especially so much of the later part of his life to Harmony Hall," said Selectmen Chair Jesse Forcier, who stepped down temporarily from his chairman's position so he could make the motion to rename the hall.
Forcier said he's talked a lot about this with Gagnon's family and Gagnon's grandson, Patrick Cox, who now leads the Dracut Historical Society. In the future, Forcier envisioned Dracut youth working on school reports about Gagnon.
"I don't think you can think of Harmony Hall without thinking about Harvey Gagnon," Selectman Tony Archinski said.
Selectman Joseph DiRocco Jr. said naming the hall after Gagnon was well deserved, adding that he believes Cox will follow in his grandfather's footsteps.
Selectmen Vice Chair Alison Hughes said she thinks Gagnon would be initially embarrassed about the name change.
"But at the end of the day he'll be smiling on it," Hughes said. "Harmony Hall has its own patron saint."
David Paquin, the society's vice president, watched the vote through a live stream of the Board of Selectmen meeting. He said he wasn't surprised.
"It was so deserving of Harvey to have the hall named after him," he said.
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