Select Board Meets: August 2, 2021

Select Board Chair Tina Hein called the August 2, 2021 meeting of the Board to order at 7:00pm.  First up on the agenda was an update from the Celebrate Holliston committee related to preliminary plans for the Town’s Tricentennial in 2024 and a sneak peek at the plans for Celebrate Holliston 2021.

Celebrate Holliston – Discussion about 300th (12/3/2024)

Peter Barbieri (right) represented the Celebrate Holliston Committee.  The Tricentennial plans include a parade, monthly events from January – December 2024; culminating in a gala ball in December.  Barbieri, who was involved in the Town’s 275th observance, estimates a parade could cost $30,000 to $50,000 and securing parade organizers and participants needs to start soon.  The Committee has a treasury of about $100,000 at this time.  Sponsors will be solicited, and all Town groups / organizations will be invited to participate.

The Committee will soon be soliciting legacy project ideas from the Town.  The Committee will select worthy ideas and support them with grants from their treasury.

Mr. Barbieri also provided a preview of Celebrate Holliston 2021.  This year’s celebration will be on Saturday, September 18th.  In light of the pandemic the scale of the event is being reduced.  The field day will be replaced with vendors set up along Central Street from 10:00 am– 3:00pm. There will be no parade this year.

The Board thanked Barbieri for the update and is very much looking forward to 2024!

Traffic Advisory Committee (TAC) – Report to Select Board

HPD Chief Matthew Stone (right) updated the Board on the activities / actions of the Traffic Advisory Committee taken since its inception in 2019.  The 9-member committee has met more frequently than originally planned to handle the steady volume of traffic safety petitions submitted by residents.  Several petitions have resulted in the recent adoption of Heavy Commercial Vehicle Exclusions (HCVE) on Holliston roadways.  New signage has been installed.  Traffic monitoring equipment has been purchased.  The Committee continues to review petitions as they come in.

Currently, HPD and the TAC are conducting a town-wide traffic sign audit.  Results of the audit should be available this September or October.

The Board appreciated the report and the work of the TAC to date. The Board accepted Chief Stone’s written report.

CARES Act / ARPA Programmatic update

After months of seeing the back of HFD Chief Michael Cassidy’s head, we are now able to capture the real him.  Cassidy brought a prop with him to the meeting – a surgical mask.  He reminded us all that he said in May, “don’t throw your masks away.”  There is no immediate change foreseen in Holliston’s pandemic mitigation steps – at this time.  The number of active COVID cases went from 5 – 10 in today’s update.  Cassidy is confident that Holliston is prepared to respond to whatever the viral variants throw at us.  He answered James Keast’s question about the severity of ‘breakthrough’ cases in full-vaccinated individuals.  Cassidy reported that there is a very slim chance of vaccinated people experiencing severe symptoms.  The Chief reminded everyone that vaccine shots are free.

The conversation turned to the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds heading to Holliston.

The ARPA Steering Group has received requests from several committees by the August 2nd deadline.  Below is an example of a worksheet the group will use to review the varied requests that come in.

The Board asked that the future versions of the worksheet also include the available ARPA funds as they released to the Town.

Since “shovel- ready” projects are also eligible for ARPA grants, the Town asked AP Associates to put together a prioritized list of such projects around Holliston. The resulting list is shown below.

The Board asked about other funds that might be available to Holliston either from the State’s ARPA $5 billion allocation, and / or the federal infrastructure bill currently working through Congress.

Mr. Sparrell drew attention to the current lack of funding sources for the dam projects listed in the priority list and would like to firm that up in the future.

Mary Greendale asked if the Holliston Schools can apply for ARPA funds. The answer is yes and that MA schools also are eligible for other State funds.

Warrants: The Board approved the weekly warrant of $1,125,685.19.

Public Comment

  • Mr. Cronin:
    • Invited Chief Stone to return and share with the Board training that the Chief has organized for five members of his Command Staff on the new Police Reform law recently passed in MA.  The training will be conducted by Chelsea’s Police Chief, Brian Kyes, who is the President of the MA Police Chiefs’ Association and a contributor to the new legislation.
  • Mrs. Hein:
    • Thanked Chief Stone for allowing Traffic Officer Charles Grace to participate in speed mitigation training.
    • Hein noted that Youth & Family Services Director Jackie Winer presented at a recent MMA conference regarding Holliston’s response to the pandemic.
  • Public
    • Beth Hoffer (right) presented charts and discolored rubber gloves to the Board in her continuing effort to improve the water quality at her home on Winthrop St.  Mr. Ahern will follow up and look into getting a 3rd party water quality test done of Ms. Hoffer’s water.

Open Warrant for Fall Town Meeting (Oct. 18, 2021) The Board opened the Warrant for the October 18, 2021 Town Meeting.  The Warrant will close at 4:00pm on September 20, 2021.

Review Survey Results – 260 Woodland St. Future Use

Nearly 600 responses were collected by the recent town-wide online survey.  A high-level view of the results was shared at the meeting.  Some of the results are shown below.

Members of the Board reacted to the data and were very pleased with the level of community input provided.  There appears to be a clear message that the residents want to move forward to turn this property into a useful resource.

There were some questions / concerns by the Board:

  • How to mitigate the Town’s liability / the cost of additional liability insurance
  • Does the soil need testing?
  • Maintaining safety for users
  • Ease of access to the area
  • Safety of trail users as others access the space from Woodland St.
  • Ongoing maintenance

Resident Josh Solberg spoke in support of a Pump (bike) park.  He believes the space to be big enough to hold a pump track, skate park, and other uses.

The Board asked to learn more answers to these questions and to discuss such uses with the Parks Department.

Comments from Town Administrator – Mr. Ahern shared the following updates with the Board:

  • An E911 study will look at Holliston’s emergency dispatch system – at no direct cost to the Town.
  • The Stantec Sidewalk study will be presented at the Board’s August 16, 2021 meeting.
  • The Capital sub-committee kicks off its work on August 3, 2021
  • The CLRPC will meet on August 4, 2021 at 7:30pm
  • Dam inspections are now in compliance with State requirements.  Getting the Town’s dams “into shape” is the next step.  Mr. Ahern will form a working group to flesh out a plan / cost to get them into shape.

Board Business:

  • Accepted a $2,636 in-kind donation from Ahronian of services/plants for Blair Square / Rail Trail
  • Accepted a $1,000 donation to the Senior Center from Lions Club
  • Approved a One Day Beer and Wine License at the Holliston Historical Society Aug 8, 2021; 6:00pm to 8:30 pm
  • Approved a Block Party on September 25, 2021; 4:40 to 10:30pm on Rolling Meadow Drive
  • Approved a 2nd Birthday Party for Frankie on August 14, 2021; noon to 6:00pm on Exchange Street (portions of the road will be closed for party activities)
  • Approved Contract Amendment #1 with PARE– for the 9 Green Street project. The scope change cost will be covered by the Town Meeting appropriated funds.
  • Approved the minutes of the July 12, 2021 meeting
  • Postponed the signing of the Deed for SummitPointe Drive

Other Business:

  • Mrs. Hein:
    • The Select Board will NOT meet on August 9, 2021.
    • The Board’s August 23 meeting will be MOVED to August 26, 2021
    • The Board will NOT meet the week of September 6, 2021 due to holidays that week.
  • Mr. Ahern:
    • In lieu of no meeting next week, Ahern asked that the Board authorize him to sign a contract with the successful bidder on the DPW feasibility study.  The Board authorized Mr. Ahern to sign the contract and present the contract at a future Board meeting for a vote.

The meeting adjourned at 9:01 pm.

Chris Cain

1 Comment

  1. Shaw Lively on August 3, 2021 at 10:54 am

    Surprising to me to see the Dog Park did not score higher.. and so many said it had LITTLE value to the town.

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