WILMINGTON, MA — Below are 5 news items in Wilmington that residents are talking about (or will be talking about) on Monday, September 27, 2021:
- Beginning October 1, 2021, face masks will be required in all Town buildings (e.g., Town Hall, Library, Senior Center, etc.) regardless of vaccination status. This is a significant change to the town’s current policy, which reads: “Non-vaccinated patrons are expected to wear a face mask at all times while inside the building.”
- The Board of Selectmen will meet tonight with the Chair of the Senior Center and Town Hall Building Committees, the projects’ OPM, and the projects’ architects to discuss site selection for both projects. The two building committees held a joint meeting recently where, after evaluating the pros and cons of four different sites using a matrix designed by the architects, members unanimously agreed to recommend a new Senior Center be built at the St. Dorothy’s site and a new Town Hall/School Administration Building be built at the Swain School site. “Build the Senior Center at St. Dorothy’s. Do it now. Don’t touch Town Hall just yet. Do the Senior Center first,” resident Deborah Russo told the Committees at the meeting. “Since 2019, when we first appeared in front of the Board of Selectmen asking for a new senior center, approximately 550 people have died in Wilmington — mostly seniors, including [Elderly Services Commissioner] Mary D’Eon. I’m saying again, please build a Senior Center at St. Dorothy’s. Now is our time.” OPM Dan Pallotta noted that the article to fund the construction of a new Senior Center may be ready for the Annual Town Meeting on April 30, 2022. He was less certain that an article to fund the construction of a new Town Hall/School Administration building could meet the filing deadline, meaning a Special Town Meeting may be required for that project.
- The Board of Selectmen will also meet tonight with Temporary Town Clerk Elizabeth Lawrenson to discuss tweaks to the lines of the town’s six voting precincts following the 2020 census results. Because the town’s population remained under 24,000 (albeit it barely at 23,349), Wilmington does NOT need to create a 7th voting precinct as some feared (The state does not allow voting precincts of have more than 4,000 voters.) Nevertheless, some voters will see their precincts change as no Wilmington precinct can have a 5% variance in its size compared to the average precinct size of 3,892. While the state has preliminary signed off on the town’s new voting precinct map, Selectmen must approve it before it’s formally submitted to the state by October 30, 2021. Voters will be notified of any changes in their precinct, and thus, potentially, polling location, with their annual census mailing. A postcard may also be mailed to every household to confirm their precinct.
- Selectmen will be asked at tonight’s meeting to allow the use of the Town Gazebo for a Public Square Rosary sponsored by American Needs Fatima on Saturday, October 16, 2021 at noon. While a similar request was approved last year with little discussion, the event did cause a stir on the Wilmington MA Community Board Page Facebook Group after a resident pointed out that America Needs Fatima is part of the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property, whose support of traditional marriage and other stances have been seen by some as homophobic and transphobic.
- Prior to its public meeting, the Board of Selectmen will hold an Executive Session (closed-to-the-public meeting) to discuss the acquisition of 333 Andover Street (Sciarappa Farm), 201 Lowell Street (portion of Textron property abutting Yentile Farm Recreational Facility), and 64 Wildwood Street (property next to Wildwood Cemetery for future cemetery expansion). The town remains tight-lipped on any negotiations for these three properties. 201 Lowell Street was in the news five months ago when Town Meeting voters supported an article to authorize Selectmen to purchase or lease 8.9 acres of the Textron land, which currently houses the company’s tennis courts and ballfields. Any funds requested to acquire the property would ultimately require another Town Meeting vote.