LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Too Soon To Vote On Name Of Recreational Facility At 9 Cross Street

Dear Editor,

The Annual Town Meeting will consider a number of articles this Saturday related to the 9 Cross Street Recreational Facility.

The Board of Selectmen is seeking funding for the construction of what will be an exciting new destination in Wilmington designed to serve all ages with a mix of active and passive recreational opportunities. This new facility will truly be a signature park for the town with an artificial turf field, beautiful walking paths, a nature themed playground, picnic areas, an event green, basketball and street hockey courts, and more.

We have been proud of the extensive and in-depth public design process used to shape the project so far. Over the past two and half years, the Committee charged with shepherding this project has conducted design workshops, public presentations, and surveys that have included more than 2,000 responses and participants including seniors, athletic groups, students, and others. Through the public design process participants evaluated components and amenities, weighed in on design layout, and identified aesthetic themes. The amount of brainstorming, discussion, and input from the public has been extraordinary.

The town is seeking the opportunity to name components of the facility, such as fields, benches, and bricks, as a means of fundraising to offset the cost of construction. However, the overall name of the facility is expected to still rest in the hands of Town Meeting. A variety of name options have been proposed in the public workshops and through the survey responses.

We are therefore concerned about Petition Article #52 that will come before Town Meeting on Saturday to name the facility after the Yentile Family. Our position at this annual town meeting is based primarily on our efforts to continue the rigorous public process that we have followed to this point, along with our public commitment to exhaust private funding alternatives, which may very well determine the naming of the facility. Naming the facility after the Yentile’s may ultimately be the choice that Town Meeting attendees make, but that decision should not be made this year without the benefit of a comprehensive public process.

We are concerned that the naming of the facility has not had the same exhaustive public evaluation process as the design has. The opportunity to allow the community to vet the various naming options, rather than just one, as they have with the design, is worthwhile and maintains the approach so ingrained in this project already. In short, voting to name the facility now before completing the public design and fundraising effort that is already underway would be premature. We therefore respectfully encourage Town Meeting to consider tabling Petition Article #52 naming the 9 Cross Street parcel the Yentile Farm Recreational Facility until such time as this and other naming options have been vetted through a broader public process.

We further hope Town Meeting will see the opportunity this project holds for the community and vote to approve its funding and fundraising efforts.

Respectfully submitted,

Judy O’Connell, Board of Selectmen Chairman and Yentile Farm Development Committee Chairman

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