Select Board roundup: International Marathon Center lease OK’d; conservation administrator resigns

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The International Marathon Center took another big step forward Tuesday, as the Select Board agreed to authorize the town manager to sign a lease with the 26.2 Foundation for the town property at 45 East Main St.

The announcement came after the Select Board held a brief executive session (closed to the public).

“A lot of hard work from both sides of the fence went into this,” Select Board chair Brendan Tedstone said. “Thank you to Mr. Khumalo, thank you to Mr. [Tim] Kilduff and his [26.2 Foundation] board, thank you to [town counsel] Mr. [Ray] Miyares for banging this out and getting it taken care of.”

Conservation administrator resigns

In other Select Board news, town manager Norman Khumalo announced that conservation administrator Don McAdam submitted his resignation.

“It will be very difficult to find somebody who will be able to meet the expectations as well as the standards that Don has set for us,” Khumalo said. “Simultaneously, we are so happy for him that he has decided to retire. As great as Don has been, he’s going to be playing a significant role in town through the transition.”

Added Tedstone: “I have worked with him as a citizen for years and years and years. He was a great, calming force when we had people that were difficult to deal with on that [Conservation Commission] board — members as well as scientists and people like that. He’s going to be another position that’s very, very hard to fill. … He has done a phenomenal job in our town.”

The board agreed to lift the town hiring freeze in order to replace McAdam. The board also approved hiring a new procurement and grants manager.

Town unhappy with Eversource

The board approved a request from Eversource to perform night work on South Street in December and January, although town manager Norman Khumalo noted that the company was not especially cooperative during its last project, updating gas lines on Main Street this fall.

“Suffice to say we were very disappointed,” Khumalo said. “In any instances when we were looking for collaboration I can say that the individual that we were working through in terms of the public relations did a fantastic job, he was very accessible to us, he was willing to meet with our team when we asked for meetings. However, the conduct by their team on the ground was very disappointing, resulting in moments that were very frustrating to the public, very frustrating to the town engineers who are working on the Main Street Corridor Project. And we’re disappointed where we are in terms of the work that they have been doing on Main Street.”

Tedstone noted that the town has had multiple issues with Eversource in the past.
“There just doesn’t seem to be any repercussions that stick to these people,” he said.

Misc: Downtown project moves ahead

During his town manager report, Khumalo said he expects to learn at an upcoming meeting when ground will be broken on the Main Street Corridor Project.

“Now that MassDOT has named Amorello & Sons as the winning bid, we have shifted gears into construction mode,” he said. “Therefore we are planning for the pre-construction meetings with MassDOT as well as the contractors. Our planning is broken into two parts. We have to continue our conversations with the Chamber of Commerce to see how we can best address the business needs during construction. Secondly, we will also be focusing on the town’s communication with residents through a website that … is now going to be provided through the MassDOT process.” …

The board voted to open the Town Meeting warrant and close it on Feb. 2. …

Darlene Hayes, Richard Jacobs, Jonathan Meltzer and Laura Stacey were reappointed to the Hopkinton Cultural Council, while Nasiba Mannan and Katie Pierce were added.

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