WILMINGTON — The Board of Selectmen gave a number of updates and considered new items at their meeting on Monday night. The first update was to welcome re-elected Selectman Jomarie O’Mahoney and newly elected Selectman Gary DePalma to three-year terms on the board per last Saturday’s annual town election.
The next update came from Health Director Shelley Newhouse, Fire Chief Brian Cavanaugh, and Police Chief Joe Desmond on the state of coronavirus as more businesses are re-opening. Wilmington has only one current case and no residents in quarantine. The group expressed the necessity of continued social distancing and wearing masks while enjoying newly opened parks and restaurants with outdoor seating. Newhouse expects phase three of re-opening to start on July 6.
The next update related to the MBTA North Wilmington commuter rail station. Town Manager Jeff Hull started by reading a piece of communication explaining that there will be a new schedule in addition to a number of new discounts. He also added other things that the town has been discussing with the MBTA in terms of updates to the station including new lighting and potentially a call box.
Hull went on to share his screen to show pictures of renovations made to the Buzzell Senior Center. He said that the town received a grant for $30,000 and also previously used the $10,000 allocated to the senior center from last year’s annual Town Meeting.
“This is only a temporary solution,” he maintained. “It’s not to suggest that we don’t need a new senior center.”
Other updates included changes to the lineup and packages for Xfinity and an inter-municipal housing services agreement.
Hull invited Assistant Town Manager Kerry Colburn-Dion to discuss various town employees who have already started returning to work in the office full time. These are employees at the DPW, Elderly Services, Veterans Services, the library, and town hall.
“As of today, we can have 50 percent capacity in our offices,” she shared.
This means that plenty of office space in town would have to be re-divided temporarily, especially town hall, to maintain social distancing requirements.
The board later voted to approve grants from fiscal year 2020 and recognized a donation of hand sanitizer to the town by DSM Coating Resigns. They also voted to approve money granted by the CARES Act to authorize emergency expenditures in the amount of roughly $541,000.
One of the new items for consideration was a proposal to install two stop signs at the intersection of Mass Avenue and Brattle Street. Town Engineer Paul Alunni popped on to share his recommendation of a few “curve” signs alerting drivers to the upcoming curve along Brattle Street.
This recommendation was made, he said, considering that the main issue is the curve itself; that the spot sees only 1,500 cars per day and there has only been one minor crash there over the past three years.
The board approved Alunni’s recommendation.
The final discussion of the night revolved around granting the Town Manager the ability to authorize the use of certain outdoor public spaces to businesses. The board seemed to be concerned mostly with liability on the town’s part should anyone be injured on these sites. Considering this, Selectman Jonathan Eaton made a motion to allow the Town Manager the authority to grant business requests for these open spaces from now until Nov. 1.
Kevin Caira made an amendment for Hull to allow Health Director Shelley Newhouse to weigh in on the determination for each business according to measured liability. He also added excluding the town common from the open space options.
Finally, chairman Greg Bendel added an amendment to accept these requests until Aug. 17, when the decision could be made whether the board would extend at that time. All of these were voted upon and approved.
From that discussion, the board voted to pass over the request made by a resident to set up a stage for dance studio use somewhere in town open space.
“This falls squarely into the category just authorized to the Town Manager without our being involved,” O’Mahoney explained.
Hull’s final update was about an upcoming EPA decision on the remediation of the Olin Superfund Site coming this August.