Weekly News Update – 02/19/2023
Parks & Rec discusses need for more space due to growth • Superintendent’s evaluation ‘check-in’ raises questions • School Committee endorses new school site, adds paraprofessionals • ESBC chooses Hayden Rowe ‘Village’ design for Elmwood replacement • Conservation Commission split on decision to proceed with gas pipeline at Mass. Laborers facility • Town seeks input on stormwater flooding issues • Health Department continues vaccine clinics, monitors norovirus • UCTC discusses citizens’ petitions that question its goals • Divided Select Board decides against moving forward with RECC • Towns may go regional with emergency dispatch calls • Town Election 2023. Candidates needed
Parks & Rec discusses need for more space due to growth
The Parks & Recreation Department is simultaneously experiencing tremendous growth and a challenging staff loss, Director Jay Guelfi told commissioners at a hybrid Parks & Recreation Commission meeting Thursday night.
Enrollment growth creates need for space
Hart’s departure has come at a time when the department is experiencing tremendous growth. Guelfi noted that there were 630 children registered for summer programming at the end of February 2022. As of Feb. 5 this year, registrants numbered 700, and the total jumped to 850 in less than two weeks.
Pyne Field reconfiguration moves ahead
The chair of the Community Preservation Committee this week approved the disbursement of up to $4,900 for civil engineering firm Gale and Associates to conduct a study and design of a parking facility for Pyne Field. The firm will present the commission with a design and budget for the entire project a month before Annual Town Meeting in May, Guelfi said.
School Committee discusses superintendent evaluation during mid-year ‘check-in’
During a mid-year “check-in” preceding a final, formal evaluation of Superintendent Carol Cavanaugh, School Committee member Holly Morand on Thursday questioned how more objectivity could be injected into the process and how the community at large could offer its perspective.
Morand spoke about finding ways “as advocational leadership” representing the community to ensure all stakeholders could have a voice in the review process.
School Committee member Lya Batlle-Rafferty said because it was not an expectation at the beginning of the process, it wouldn’t be fair to have a “climate survey” this year but was something the committee could think about for the future.
Batlle-Rafferty noted at her work, “When I get a 360, I get to pick who is giving feedback.” She added it is helpful to receive constructive criticism but questioned whether that format would be appropriate for the superintendent’s evaluation.
School Committee endorses new school site, adds paraprofessionals
At its Thursday meeting, the Hopkinton School Committee endorsed the Elementary School Building Committee’s choice of a site on Hayden Rowe Street and a design called “Village East” for the proposed Elmwood School replacement.
Board approves three paraprofessionals
Lauren Dubeau, principal at Marathon Elementary School, requested the addition of three paraprofessionals to support the “significant special needs” of students moving into the school. The School Committee approved the request.
High school adds, eliminates courses
In other business, the committee approved additions and subtractions of courses at the high school as presented by Principal Evan Bishop.
Travel request approved
During the last meeting, the committee postponed voting on a request for up to 14 high school students to participate in a Global Leadership Summit from July 3-15, 2024. The study tour program in Iceland, Denmark and Germany centers around the theme, The Impact of Water on Society.
The Elementary School Building Committee on Monday voted unanimously (7-0) to choose a preferred schematic option called Hayden Rowe Village East, featuring three stories and three wings, for the Elmwood School replacement project.
Conservation Commission split on decision to proceed with gas pipeline at Mass. Laborers facility
The Conservation Commission at its meeting Tuesday night approved 4-3 the notice of intent hearing on the Massachusetts Laborers Training facility’s initially proposed gas line under the Wetlands Protection Act, the preferred option of the developer, after some concessions were reached during the meeting.
The project, located at 37 East Street, has been discussed over the course of several months. The main point of contention has been the location of the initially proposed gas line that would involve site work on the Clinton Street right of way from Front Street.
Town seeks input on stormwater flooding issues
The town is encouraging residents, business owners and property owners to take part in a public survey on stormwater flooding.
As part of the FEMA Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) grant, the town is working with a team of consultants (Tighe & Bond of Westfield) to assess areas of concern in the town’s stormwater collection and distribution system.
The town applied for the BRIC grant in 2020 following the completion of the 2020 Hazard Mitigation-Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness Plan. The plan identified stormwater flooding as a component of two of the four main hazards affecting the town.
Health Department continues vaccine clinics, monitors norovirus
The Health Department is continuing to hold bivalent vaccine booster clinics, and it will be “part of our mission,” Carter said, to offer them even after their distribution becomes privatized as the pandemic ceases and the endemic phase of COVID-19 is expected to begin next month.
Vaccines, test kits on order
The Health Department as of the end of January had a balance of $94,016.25. Health Director Shaun McAuliffe explained that $30,000 to $40,000 would be used for flu, shingles and a small amount of pediatric vaccine purchases that will be reimbursable.
Restaurants closed for violations
McAuliffe noted that two restaurants had to be closed temporarily within the last month because of health code violations, but they were able to reopen the same day once the issues were addressed. There has been an increase in regulatory actions taken by the department in the past few months, he explained.
Water supply inspections continue
The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection has been in Hopkinton this week to start its annual water supply inspections, McAuliffe said. Two notices of non-compliance have been issued to public water supply operators. Both operators are scheduling repairs and are chlorinating their respective water supplies, according to McAuliffe. Re-inspection will occur at the end of the month.
Asbestos removal issue arises
The Health Department and the Land Use Department issued a stop work order to the asbestos abatement contractor working on the 83 East Main Street project, McAuliffe said. The contractor had not applied for the required permitting when removing the asbestos shingles, so the abatement work was not conducted in compliance with the state’s DEP regulations.
UCTC discusses citizens’ petitions that question its goals
The Upper Charles Trail Committee at its meeting Wednesday night debated questions it will take to town counsel about the validity of two citizens’ petitions, one of which seeks to disband the UCTC in its current form.
Moran expressed that the passage of the petitions could “freeze or change” the UCTC’s charter. One of the petitions called for the disbanding of the UCTC in its current form. If passed, it would change the UCTC into a TCMC subcommittee, with members chosen by the TCMC.
Divided Select Board decides against moving forward with RECC
A divided Select Board at its Tuesday meeting decided not to sign an intermunicipal agreement to form a regional emergency communication center with Southborough, Westborough and Grafton.
The vote was 3-2 against the RECC, with those in opposition stating much more information is needed before they could be convinced this is the right move.
REGION – Four communities — Grafton, Hopkinton, Southborough and Westborough — are considering the formation of a regional emergency dispatch center.
Town Election 2023. Latest updated list of candidates running.
Running List, last updated 02/17/23.