• Mayor Scott Galvin told city leaders and citizens that an architectural firm will by next fall present recommendations for addressing major building deficiencies at the fire department's central headquarters and four substations. During his annual state-of-the-city address before the City Council on Tuesday night, the mayor listed an overhaul and reconfiguration of the public safety department's building infrastructure as his top capital priority for 2019.
• Noting that citizens enjoy some of the lowest tax bills in the region, Mayor Scott Galvin bragged about the city's continued standing as a beacon of financial stability during his annual state-of-the-city speech. Appearing before the City Council on Tuesday night to address local officials and citizens, the mayor boasted about Woburn's ability to boost its significant free cash and reserve holdings, maintain and expand investment into municipal infrastructure, and generate tax growth from new developments.
• Unable to regain Mayor Scott Galvin's support for the project, the proponents of a Library Park area apartment complex recently obtained permission to withdraw two zoning initiatives related to the development. During the most recent gathering of the City Council, local attorney Joseph Tarby, representing Woburn-based Jamieson Properties, confirmed his client has been unable to break a negotiation stalemate with Galvin over the size of the housing development off of Federal Street.
• The new Woburn Mall owner contends a massive redevelopment of the 23-acre parcel into a lifestyle center with 350 apartments, a movie theatre complex, and more than 20 retail stores will have no discernible impact on area traffic. Late last week, local officials posted on the City of Woburn website several parts of Edens LLC's special permit application package for its proposed Woburn Village project at 300 Mishawum Rd. in East Woburn. The redevelopment is being pitched under a new 40R or Smart Growth Overlay District (SGOD) created by the City Council late last month.
• The new Fire Station Building Committee designated DiNisco Design Partnership as the city's top choice to conduct an multi-faceted analysis of the fire department's future infrastructure needs. The x-member advisory committee, established by Mayor Scott Galvin last year, voted unanimously to award the the Boston-based architect the contract for a fire station feasibility study. DiNisco, the same firm that designed the new Hurld-Wyman School, was one of eight companies that submitted bids in response to a 227-page request for designer services (RFS) advertised in early January.
• They were knocking the doors down to be the first to get into the Open House for the newly refurbished Woburn Public Library on Saturday. The weather outside was breezy and a bit cool but some 800 people waited patiently to become among the first to get a look at the upgraded, three-story addition and re-make of the public library. Some 1,500 individuals (including many children) had come through the new entranceway on Abbott Street. “We estimate we had 3,000 for the afternoon,” noted Richard Manoney, the President of the Board of Trustees.
• With several aldermen changing their position on the proposal, the City Council refused to support a resolution asking the state Legislature to stamp a 5 cent deposit charge on single-serving or 'nip' alcohol containers. The resolution introduced by Mayor Scott Galvin in late January failed to pass muster in a 4-to-5 vote. The initiative's defeat was somewhat unexpected, as all but two members of the council — Alderman at-large Michael Concannon and Ward 6 Alderman Edward Tedesco — had just days earlier agreed the non-binding request should be forwarded the state Legislature.
• Local officials recently retained the same Boston architect that designed the new Hurld-Wyman School to study options for renovating a portion of the old Wyman School for use as a new administrative headquarters. Mayor Scott Galvin told the School Committee that his office is awaiting more details from DiNisco Design Partnership before conducting a more exhaustive analysis of the mechanisms behind a proposed subdivision of the Central Square facility.
• On March 27, Winchester native and football hero Joe Bellino passed away at the age of 81. Bellino was most known for his exploits on the Winchester High and Naval Academy football fields as a halfback. He won the Heisman Trophy, an award given to the best college football player in the country, in 1960. He also received many other accolades including the Navy’s top two awards: the Thompson Trophy and the Naval Academy Athletic Association Sword. When Bellino won the Heisman, he became the first Midshipman to ever win it (quarterback Roger Staubach would later win it in 1963; he and Bellino are the only two Navy Midshipman to win the award)
• A Lawrence construction company broke ground on the Salem Street bridge replacement project, when motorists in the area can expect to run into increased traffic due to associated lane closures. According to Patrick Marvin, a spokesperson for the Mass. Department of Transportation (MassDOT), commuters on Salem Street will be diverted to a single-lane in locations between Wildwood Avenue and Cedar Street starting April 18 as crews from Kodiak Corporation begin work on the $4.3 million undertaking until the fall. Located in East Woburn towards the Washington Street side of Salem Street, the elevated structure is perched over the MBTA commuter rail tracks that run from Anderson Regional Tranportation Center towards Wedgemere Station in Winchester. First erected back in 1928, the Salem Street Bridge was first identified as in need of replacement by state officials back in 1999. When the construction project was first advertised in the winter of 2017, MassDOT engineers projected the value of the contract at $5.56 million.
• The Woburn Municipal Federal Credit Union at 8 Cedar St., East Woburn, a leading community-based financial institution, officially changed its name to Common Trust Federal Credit Union. The name change is a part of the organization’s continued strategy to best support those living in Woburn as well as the surrounding communities.
• The ginn Oil Co. gas station at 57 Winn St. (opposite Lannan Chevrolet) was a landmark in Woburn but has been razed in recent days. The site was also the headquarters of their home heating oil business. The last station read “Gulf” but had been BP before it and for many years Richfield. “I can recall when gas was $1 for 12 gallons in the late 1930s,” noted Harry Cohen, who worked the station for decades. David Ginnsburg was the founder and owner and well-known. City records indicate the modernized building was bus built in 1988 and the back building went back to 1890. Winn Street LLC is listed as the current owners. “I can also remember when the phone number was ‘1212’ in the 1940s but turned over to the Woburn PD in the late 1940s,” reflected Cohen.
• The three-member License Commission recently approved the relationship of the BrickYard with the city of Woburn to a three-year lease, rather than the one-year lease of past years. Their approval followed an approval by the five-member Woburn Redevelopment Authority, who are charged by the city of overseeing business activity in the downtown Woburn area. Noted was the popularity of the concerts and gave a 3-0 vote to allow for a continuation of the sidewalk concerts at the city-owned Marlowe Park next to the BrickYard.
• Fifty local nonprofits received awards on May 2 that likely made not just their day, but their decade! The Woburn-based Cummings Foundation granted these organizations a cumulative $15 million through its Sustaining Grants program, which provides ongoing funding for 10 years. Each organization’s total grant ranges from $200,000 to $500,000.
Hint: Clip and send year-long highlights to out-of-Woburn friends who are still interested in the city.
• The work of the Woburn Fire Station Building Committee is getting more serious as discussions, meetings, reports and the like keep coming in. The city of Woburn for the past year - and past decade or more - has looked at building a new Central Fire Station, along with possibly another one or two sub-stations. In late June, city officials huddled with Mayor Scott Galvin and the Woburn Fire Station Building Committee met in the Engineer’s Conference Room to get reports from their major advisor, DiNisco Design Partnership, as well as from Pat Saitta of the Municipal Building Consultants.,
• The City Council sanctioned Lord Hobo's request to modify its parking configurations to make way for a new outdoor beer garden at its East Woburn location. During a regular meeting in City Hall, the aldermen unanimously granted Lord Hobo's petition for relief from Woburn's parking regulations, which technically required the East Woburn brewery to provide 173 spaces for its proposed restaurant and function hall expansion.The beer-maker, which wants to construct a 90-by-15 foot patio along the front of its 5 Draper St. headquarters, still needs to obtain the Planning Board's permission to proceed with the construction of the outdoor dining area.