TEWKSBURY — The Tewksbury Board of Selectmen closed out 2019 following a jam-packed and transformative year. Here are some of the highlights.
2019 saw the approval and beginning of construction of the Regional Emergency Communication Center, a single story, state of the art, centralized emergency response center next to the DPW on Whipple Road. The building will house emergency communications for Tewksbury and Dracut and have the capacity to host additional communities over time.
Newly elected state legislators appeared before the board to discuss legislative priorities for the 2019 session. Freshmen state representatives Dave Robertson and Tram Nguyen succeeded Jim Miceli and Jim Lyons respectively, and Barry Finegold returned to the state senate after a four-year hiatus. Each outlined their goals and plans to advocate for the town at the state house.
2019 saw the transfer of the 35-acre Saunders Recreation Area — including Livingston Street Park - from state ownership to the town.
A proposed development on Dascomb Road raised tensions between the Tewksbury and Andover selectboards. The project, at 146 Dascomb Road in Andover, is expected to generate approximately 13,698 additional vehicle trips during an average Saturday.
The project developer is the Lupoli Companies of Lawrence. The proposal, according to public documents, is to “redevelop an approximately 16.2 acre site” with a grocery store, fitness center, hotel, office space, retail and restaurants. The area is right off of Route 93 at Dascomb Road in Andover near the Tewksbury line.
The project was approved by the Andover Planning Board and is awaiting approval from the state Department of Environmental Protection and the Department of Transportation, and would require reconstruction and widening of ramps from 93 north and south at Dascomb Road.
The Tewksbury selectboard raised concerns that the traffic study was not completed into Tewksbury to the same extent it had been in Andover.
The board mourned the loss of Ron Hall and Stephen Deackoff this year. Both served for many years on several committees and boards in town and were dedicated public to the community.
The 2019 election brought Jayne Wellman onto the board.
The board voted to establish a tax aid committee. The committee will seek to explore options for expanding tax relief to elderly and disabled residents in the town. Additionally, the board voted to hold residential and commercial taxes steady.
The board deliberated over entertainment licenses and heard complaints from residents regarding noise at Wamesit Lanes, raised issues about road safety on side streets, and approved a stormwater fee that was ultimately approved at fall town meeting.
After one year in operation, the board looked at the accomplishments and future of the Tewksbury telemedia department. Cable access channels for public, government, and educational programming were established and programming is robust on Comcast channels 8, 22 and 99, and Verizon channels 32, 33, and 34. Programming includes local meetings, concerts at Livingston Street Park and presentations at the Tewksbury Public Library, as well as high school sports, and the development of the popular cooking show “Taste of Tewksbury.”
The next meeting of the board is scheduled for Jan. 7, 2020.