SELECTMEN RACE Q&A: Marsh & O’Mahony Discuss Detox Facility Proposal At 362 Middlesex Ave

WILMINGTON, MA — Jomarie O’Mahony, Daryn Marsh, and Kevin MacDonald are running for the seat on the Wilmington Board of Selectmen recently vacated by Ed Loud. The winner will fulfill the one year remaining on Loud’s unexpired term.

Wilmington Apple is asking the candidates multiple questions each week leading up to the April 27 Town Election.

The latest question:

Do you/did you support the construction of a detox facility at 362 Middlesex Avenue? Why or why not? What do you say to residents who strongly disagree with your position?

Below are the candidates’ responses, in their own words:

Jomarie O’Mahony

I believe the disease of addiction has reached epidemic levels in every community in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. It is a crisis that can’t be ignored (and one that we can’t pretend does not affect our own community here in Wilmington).  As an attorney for a state agency dealing with families in crisis, as well as a friend and family member to people in various stages of battling this disease, I see the benefit of an additional detox center in the area, knowing how desperate the need is for more beds. That being said, I do not support the construction of a detox facility at 362 Middlesex Avenue as the location is not appropriate for a medical center of the size being proposed.

We as a community need to be clear with our vision for this town and our representatives should govern with that vision in mind. We only have a limited amount of land and we should be thoughtful in our planning for its use. We have a portion of the town already dedicated to commercial and medical facilities with more appropriate locations for a detox center or something akin to it already available.

When I first moved to Wilmington over 15 years ago, I recall discussion of developing that section of Route 62 with street front stores that could create a “town center” like the town center in the nearby town of Reading. That plan never seemed to have been pursued seriously but it should have been. Such a location would also be a great location for additional affordable housing for seniors.

The sad reality is that this issue has created a huge division in our town and we need to figure out a way to bring the town and the current owner to the table to create a mutually agreeable compromise that will not have the town and the property tied up in expensive litigation for years to come. Given the current climate, I would invite our state legislative delegation to be a part of the discussions, as well, so that further allegations of impropriety can be extinguished and we can begin to solve the problem without distraction. As a member of the Board of Selectmen, I would champion for that to occur and would volunteer to spearhead it as soon as possible so that our town can move forward and begin to unify as a community instead of continuing in the current manner of division.

I would tell the people who don’t agree with what I am saying above to give me their plan – not the history of the problem, not the allegations, not their interpretation of the laws and by-laws – but a plan to bring resolution to the issue. I believe it is important to understand what happened that led to the current situation, but I want to focus our attention on finding the solution and then we can make sure this never happens again.

Daryn Marsh

Mr. Marsh chose to answer this question via video:

Kevin MacDonald

No response.

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