Below is the latest “From The Manager’s Desk” column from the latest Town Topics Newsletter:
WILMINGTON, MA — We have now passed the one year mark living and working in a COVID-19 environment and many have lamented about their COVID-fatigue for good reason. However, while COVID remains very much with us the number of residents testing positive and the number in quarantine is on the decline. Hopefully, the holiday surge at the end of 2020 will be the final surge for this pandemic. At present, there are three vaccines that have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration and, while the supply and distribution of vaccines have been problematic, as of March 5, 2021, 1,355,389 residents of the Commonwealth had received at least one dose and 650,411 residents had either received both doses or received the single dose required by the Johnson & Johnson version. The improving vaccination rate and ability to be outside due to warmer weather should work in our favor.
There is clear reason for optimism at the same time recognizing that to reach the “other side” of this pandemic is like running a marathon. Just as one can feel great at mile marker 18 and fall apart at mile marker 22 the number of COVID cases could increase unless we collectively remain disciplined with wearing masks, social distancing, handwashing and maintaining the habits that have become second nature. We must stay that course with our actions and, to use the refrain that those of us long-time Red Sox faithful know all too well, “Reverse the Curse.”
It bears repeating that we owe a debt of gratitude to the staff of the health department, police, fire and dispatch personnel, public works crews, custodians and building maintenance workers, staff in elderly services, veterans’ services, library and recreation departments and our administrative staff for remaining focused and finding “work arounds” to continue serving you the public during these most challenging times.
As we continue to adapt to the pandemic, Annual Town Meeting will once again be in a non-traditional location. Recognizing the continuing requirement for social distancing and the fickle nature of early spring in New England, Annual Town Meeting will be held indoors at the Shriners Auditorium on 99 Fordham Road in Wilmington on May 1st. The Shriners organization has been incredibly generous to the Town. Just within the past year the Shriners have graciously hosted the Presidential Election, the limited local vaccine clinic sponsored by the Health Department and will host the Annual Town Meeting each at no charge. The Shriners embody, as an organization, what Wilmington has become known for as a community – doing good for others. The new start time for the meeting is 9:00 a.m. Residents who are interested in how your tax dollars are being spent are encouraged to attend.
Within the next thirty (30) to sixty (60) days two architect/design firms will be hired to work with the Town to evaluate the best sites for a new senior center and town/school administration building and to develop schematic designs and cost estimates for each project. This stage of the effort is expected to take at least six (6) to eight (8) months depending upon the ability to arrive at consensus around the location and preliminary design. Once this work is completed, articles would be prepared for an upcoming town meeting to seek funding for the continued services of an owners project manager along with funds for final design and construction.
Recently, Vincent McCoy, a Custodial Supervisor, retired after serving the Town over 33 years. Over the next three months the Town will say “good bye” to Tree Foreman Scott Smith after over 40 years of service, Police Officer Brian Moon after over 33 years of services and Lieutenant David Sugrue after 31 years of service. Each of them is wished the very best in the next stage of life’s journey.
These past twelve (12) months have tested each of us in multiple and varied ways: isolation from family, keeping our kids engaged in learning, job loss or business closure, sickness and loss of loved ones. And yet we must keep on keeping on. In the words of tennis professional turned motivational speaker Roger Crawford “Being challenged in life is inevitable. Being defeated is optional.” There are lessons for all of us to take from this experience. Let us identify them and take advantage of them.
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