While COVID was at the forefront of everyone’s minds at Tuesday’s meeting of Town Council, councilors also discussed a number of other issues impacting the community, including a new dog park, the Center Business District project, and new tennis courts.
A member of the public wrote in to thank the town clerk’s office for realizing a flawless election on Nov. 3. Council President Phil Boncore publicly thanked Town Clerk Joanne DeMato.
“She was short-handed, but her staff did a fantastic job,” he said. “Winthrop had its results by 11pm on election day, even while the rest of the country waited days.”
Winthrop is about to get a much needed dog park, with help from the Winthrop Foundation. The Dog Park Finance Committee has been looking at potential sites for years, and finally settled on a site on Veterans Road. The cost to build the park will be $125,000, of which the Winthrop Foundation is contributing $100,000. This means the town only has to come up with the remaining $25,000. Council voted unanimously to approve the funding.
Center Business District
Work continues on the Center Business District (CBD) project. Currently the project is on schedule and is expected to wrap up for the 2020 season on Dec. 15. The water and sewer mains have been installed, and drainage is now being completed. Starting in the spring, surface-level changes like sidewalks will be finalized. Department of Public Works Director Steve Calla said he hopes the project will be fully finished by the end of 2021.
The School Building Assistance Committee and the Miller Field Committee held a joint meeting to discuss the future of the Winthrop High School tennis courts. The courts are used primarily by the schools, but are also open to the public. A $1.5 million project will include replacing the existing four courts with brand new ones, as well as improving the sidewalks and parking in the area. Parking will be increased from 41 to 47 spots. Council Vice President James Letterie said that the facility will be “state of the art” with “increased accessibility and safety.” Demolition and construction is slated for the beginning of next year, to be finished by the end of the summer. In the meantime, teams will practice at the Ingleside Park tennis courts.
Public Safety Building
The Finance Committee and the Capital Assets Committee held a joint meeting to discuss the creation of a possible public safety building, which would house both the Winthrop Fire Department and the Winthrop Police Department. A slideshow was presented to demonstrate the conceptual design options currently being considered (see forthcoming article.)
The School Department met on Monday, Nov. 9, where it discussed a transition from remote learning to hybrid learning as early as Dec. 7. The decision would be made at the recommendation of the Winthrop Board of Health pending a feasibility study. In order to revert to in-person learning, a community has to be in the Yellow Zone for three consecutive weeks. Council President Boncore shared that he is not a fan of the hybrid learning plan, preferring a method that is either fully remote or fully in-person.
Town Manager Austin Faison will be presenting his annual Fall Forum at the next council meeting on Nov. 24.
The Commissions for Diversity, Inclusion and Community Relations will meet on Monday, Nov. 16, at 6pm.
There are currently openings on the Board of Health and Citizens Finance Advisory committee.