WILMINGTON — In 2021, the Wilmington Board of Selectmen took on important town issues related to spaces, economic development, CO­VID-19 relief, memorials, and more.

Preparing for the annual Town Meeting starting in February, an early is­sue this year for the board was the article for the proposed rezoning for a parcel off of Route 125. It sparked plenty of debate at the Town Meet­ing in April before it was ultimately voted down.

The results of the Mas­sachusetts Department of Public Health’s Wil­mington Childhood Can­cer Study, which began in 1999, were finally re­leased in the spring. The report did make the claim that there was a relation between prenatal exposure to NDMA and childhood cancer during the years studied.

The board said goodbye to old members and re­ceived new ones with the annual town election, when Jonathan Eaton was elected as Town Mo­derator and Lilia Maselli became the newest chair­man. It wasn’t until June that former Selectman Jomarie O’Mahony step­ped down, and in Sep­tember Judy O’Connell was elected to the board at a special town election.

The board didn’t shy away from any requests to dedicate memorials and honor to the town’s veterans this year. Be­sides the Salute to Ser­vice to end every meeting, they also promoted the Memorial Day, the 20th anniversary of Sept. 11, and the Veterans Day celebrations. They show­ed up for the rededication of the Wilmington Memorial Library in hon­or of some of Wil­mington’s fallen soldiers from the Vietnam War: John A. Rich, John J. Fullerton Jr., Robert W. Parent, and Richard W. Welch. They approved a bench memorial to the Robert Brown family at Silver Lake in November and supported dedicating a walking trail to John “Jack” MacGuire in December along with making Jan. 3 officially Sean Allen Collier Day.

Through the spring and summer, the board al­lowed town spaces to be used outside and welcomed requests to use the 4th of July parking lot, the town common, the Swain Green, and even Rotary Park.

Some of the events that took place in these spa­ces included fundraising car washes, the library’s Summer Bash, and performances from the Mis­fit Artists theatre company. They also automatically extended licenses for businesses who had been approved for on-premises consumption for outdoor table service.

In August, the board proposed new locations for electronic vehicle charging stations being donated by Reading Municipal Light Department. The new locations officially became the library and Glen Road.

Street improvements pro­jects approved this year included the Cook Avenue water connection and the changes to the intersection at Clark Street and Mid­dlesex Avenue. There was a request for a truck exclusion on Woburn Street, but it was denied by the Mas­sachusetts Depart­ment of Transportation. It was dur­ing this same meeting that Police Chief Joe Desmond verified that there likely never was an official truck exclusion on Woburn Street at all — had there been a sign there, it was unenforceable.

The board was invited to participate this year in considering the open space and recreation plan, the town’s unaccepted ways, the property tax classification, and the hazard mitigation plan update.

A new issue that came up later in the year was a concerning result from testing the town’s well water for PFAS in October. After shutting down one well, they replaced the carbon filters and recorded the measurement re­turn to normal levels throughout November and December.

It was also in October when Beth Lawrenson bec­ame the new Town Clerk, replacing Tina Touma-Conway who left back in September. The board set the date that same meeting for the special Town Meeting for the new Wild­wood school funding.

In November, the board approved the proposed use of American Rescue Plan Act funds as proposed by Town Manager Jeff Hull. These funds went to things like a replacement water line, replacement cache basins, contact tracing, grants for façade and street landscape improvements, branding and marketing, and grant administration.

Representatives continually kept the rest of the board up to date with regular reporting from the committees for the new town hall and senior center. In September, there was a presentation on the open sites in town being considered: the current town hall site, the Swain Green, the St. Dorothy’s site, and the Whitfield school site.

Ultimately, St. Dorothy’s was identified as the choice of site for the new senior center.

This December saw the Santa Parade and Toys for Tots programs continuing to spread joy and the re­turn of the annual Tree Lighting.

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