Legacy Farms developer Roy MacDowell checked in with the Select Board Tuesday night to discuss the status of Legacy Farms Road North, which the town is considering accepting as a public road for the primary purpose of allowing school buses to travel on it and make the situation safer for schoolchildren in that neighborhood.
The taking of the road is an article that is up for a vote at the Sept. 12 Town Meeting. At issue is the fact that the road and surrounding areas are not yet in the proper condition.
MacDowell said he has a list from BETA, the town’s engineering consultant firm, that his crews have been going through. While the road has been paved, there were patches needed. Additional items were related to landscaping, signs, clearing, cleaning of drains and more.
“We’re probably halfway through the list,” MacDowell said. “My guess is by this time next week the list should be complete. … It’s a pretty short list at this point.”
Department of Public Works director John Westerling brought up a concern about the quality of the soil, suggesting there might be an issue with pesticides in the former Weston Nurseries property, but MacDowell said he was not aware of that issue.
MacDowell noted that he has a big incentive to finish the punch list as soon as possible, as his company has a $776,000 bond that is being tied up over the remaining work. He said the bond is set to expire Sept. 29, and if he has to extend it it would cost him an additional $20,000.
Board member Brian Herr said he had faith MacDowell would deliver, and he doesn’t want to see a delay force the town to miss the opportunity to accept the road and address the safety issue.
“[The $776,000] is a significant bond tie-up, so there’s a million reasons why he would get this done and get it done appropriately,” Herr said. “I can’t think of five reasons why we would ever want to keep these kids from being to get the bus and go to school in this upcoming year.”
MacDowell said he is going to meet with BETA on Wednesday, and he made plans to meet with Westerling and walk the property next Tuesday, prior to the next Select Board meeting, to see if there are any remaining concerns at that time.
Board supports citizen’s article on forest land
The Select Board voted 3-0 (two members abstained due to potential conflicts of interest) to support Town Meeting warrant Article 20, sponsored by resident Ann Karnofsky, requesting that the town look into the possibility of purchasing the forested land behind 71 Frankland Road (the former Liberty Mutual property).
The land is owned by Seaboard Solar, which was granted a special permit by the Planning Board to install a solar array there. Karnofsky and her supporters want to seek funds from the Community Preservation Committee and other sources and see if Seaboard could be convinced to sell the property. The parcel with the building and parking lot already has been sold by Seaboard to a third party.
Following discussion on the article last week, Town Manager Norman Khumalo checked with town counsel to confirm the article is in order. He said it was, but clarified, “If adopted it could be used to initiate consideration of this purchase. However, any actual action to purchase would require an additional future vote by Town Meeting to appropriate and authorize borrowing for a specific amount.”
Health director warns about travel
During his update Health Department director Shaun McAuliffe noted that the town currently has zero active cases of COVID-19. However, he said people traveling are creating issues.
“Last week we transitioned from the unshaded metric to the green risk metric [on the state’s new town-by-town chart] because we reported six cases over a 14-day period. All of those new cases were related to travel. We’ve had 360 individuals travel or return to Hopkinton since the governor’s order went into effect. And I just can’t stress enough how risky travel is at this time. This travel issue in our view is one of the things that is going to make or break us as we move into the fall and winter season.”
McAuliffe also said some college students from Hopkinton have tested positive. He suggested families prepare for the possibility their child returns from college with COVID.
“Put a plan together,” he said. “In the off event that a student becomes ill at college and seeks to come home to recuperate, we’re asking that parents have a plan in place to accommodate their children in that case.”
Town receives DOER grant
The Department of Energy Resources (DOER) Green Communities Division approved an award of $196,521 for five projects proposed in the town’s Green Communities Competitive Grant application.
The projects include $15,417 for LED lighting at Hopkins Elementary School, $74,911 for weatherization at Hopkinton High School, $86,193 for an EMS software upgrade at the high school, $5,000 toward a hybrid vehicle purchase for the town, and $15,000 for two EV charging stations in town.
The town credited the work of Dave Daltorio, Susan Rothermich, Tim Persson, Matthew Reed and Ben Sweeney in acquiring the grant.
Khumalo also credited community member John Mosher, “who helped us build a relationship with the Mass. Green Communities division and actively participated in most of our meetings with them. Those relationships are paying off.”
Misc. Downtown project bids received
Khumalo reported that the Main Street Corridor Project took another step forward with the opening of the construction bids.
“The bid opening was conducted this afternoon and the lowest bid was approximately $500,000 less than the $12.9 million budgeted for the project,” he said, noting that the engineering firm VHB next will meet with MassDOT, review the bid and make a recommendation on how to proceed. …
Chris Alicandro was appointed to an open spot on the Community Preservation Committee. Dan McIntyre was reappointed to the Permanent Building Committee, and new applicant Curtis Smithson was added to that committee as well. Jim Ciriello was appointed to the Upper Charles Trails Committee as the Conservation Commission representative. …
The board voted to accept a gift of $500 to the Fire Department from former Hopkinton residents Albert and Karen Irvine, who now live in North Carolina.