Town Manager Jeff Hull Provides Updates On Building Projects, Annual Town Meeting On April 30

Below is the “From The Manager’s Desk” column from the latest Town Topics Newsletter:

WILMINGTON, MA — Thank you to the many residents who participated in the Special Town Meeting held on March 8th to consider appropriating funds to conduct a feasibility study to address providing educational space for students and staff at the Wildwood Early Childhood Center. The Special Town Meeting overwhelmingly approved $1.2 million to complete this work by a vote of 368 in favor to 1 opposed. The Town is pursuing financial assistance from the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) for renovation or replacement of the Wildwood School. With the approval of funds for the feasibility study the Town is now eligible to enter the feasibility stage of the MSBA approval process. Completion of the feasibility study and schematic design phases are required before the MSBA Board of Directors will decide whether MSBA contributes to this project and the degree to which the agency will participate in the funding.  Information about the Wildwood School project can be found at the following site: https://www.wpsk12.com/our_district/facilities/school_building_projects. The Wildwood School Building Committee will continue to hold public meetings as the Town enters the stage of hiring an Owners Project Manager (OPM) and designer to assist with evaluating the alternative solutions.

With the tragic accident involving resident Roberta Sausville-Devine in North Wilmington on January 21, 2022, crossing train tracks has taken on a completely new meaning and, unfortunately for many, a sense of risk. Since that incident there have been multiple reports of crossing gates extending into the down position without trains crossing roadways or the rail gates moving erratically or out of sequence with approaching trains. The Board of Selectmen, the Town’s legislative delegation and I have been persistent and adamant with the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) that restoring reliability to the rail crossing safety features must be a top priority for them. Town officials and the legislative delegation will work in concert until the problems are resolved.

For the first time in two years the Annual Town Meeting will be held in the Joanne M. Benton Auditorium at the Wilmington High School on Saturday, April 30th beginning at 9:00 a.m. A heartfelt “thank you” goes out to the Aleppo Shriners who graciously hosted, free of charge, the 2021 Annual Town Meeting, the recently completed Special Town Meeting and several other Town functions in their auditorium during the pandemic. Their generosity and civic engagement is unmatched.

Essentially, the Annual Town Meeting serves as the shareholders’ meeting for residents of this municipal corporation known as the Town of Wilmington. All registered voters residing in Wilmington are invited to participate in voting on proposed expenditure for the operation of general government and schools for the fiscal year which begins July 1, 2022. Changes to the Town’s Inhabitant By-laws (local laws) and Zoning By-laws governing the use of land will be considered.

Members of both the Senior Center Building Committee and the Town/School Administration Building Committee continue to meet on alternating Wednesdays with their respective architects and the Owners Project Manager to further develop the interior floor plans and the location of the buildings on the sites. A senior center is slated to be located on Town property next to St. Dorothy’s Church on Main Street and a combined town/school administration building is planned for the former Swain School site across from the Town Common. Information about both projects is regularly updated and is available on the Town’s website at http://www.wilmingtonma.gov and click on Building Projects. Committee meetings can also be viewed on Comcast 22, Verizon 38 or streamed at WCTV.org/live.

The Town continues to see a changing of the guard as many longtime employees retire to spend more time with family, take up those hobbies sidelined by work or to pursue adventures through travel and lifelong learning. My sincere thanks are extended to Assistant Library Director Charlotte Wood, Public Works Mechanic Paul Orso and Public Buildings Maintenance Driver John Reese for your service to the residents of Wilmington. Your contributions in your respective roles day in and day out have contributed to making Wilmington a special place to live. Sail on.

After a long two years it appears that we are seeing a sustained decline in COVID cases. While COVID and its variants will likely be with us for the foreseeable future, hopefully, through everyone’s efforts, it is under control enough to enable a return to more normal times including Wilmington Little League Opening Day Parade, Memorial Day Parade, Fun on the Fourth and gatherings of family and friends both outdoors and indoors. Stay safe.

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