NEW OFFICERS INTRODUCED
Two new Abington Police Officers were officially introduced to the Board of Selectmen. Officer Vanessa Miranda has been on the force for a year, but her introduction was delayed due to the pandemic. She is a native of Brazil, a former special police officer in Whitman, and fluent in Portuguese.
Officer Ray Emery, a member of the Abington High School Class of 2015, was also introduced. A graduate of St. Joseph’s College in Maine, he is in his third week on patrol.
OTHER BOARD ACTIONS
The Board of Selectmen:
~ Voted to recommend accepting Dorsey, Cynthia, and Murphy roads as public ways. The streets were recently the site of a large subdevelopment.
~ Approved transferring the liquor license held by Ole Ole Cantina to Tequila’s Mexican Cantina. The owner said the restaurant will open in about 3-4 months following some renovations.
~ Appointed Andrew Burbine, the current Chairman of the Zoning Board of Appeals as temporary hearing officer for building and fire code violations until July 31, 2022.
DPW PROJECT UPDATE
DPW Director John Stone detailed a number of roadway project in line for state grant money.
The town’s most dangerous intersection is at Route 139, Chestnut Street, and Old Randolph Street, where there’s been 37 crashes between 2018 and 2020. The two-way stop will be replaced by a new traffic light, and there will be other alignment fixes and ADA improvements.
The $4 million project is on the state funding list, but won’t happen for a few years.
The Hancock Street and Chestnut Street intersection is also slated to get funded by the state. That intersection, which is the third most dangerous in town with 32 crashes in three years, is scheduled to get done about 2026. The current two-way intersection will be replaced with a roundabout similar to the one at the end of Chestnut Street and North Quincy Street. As part of the work, the Hancock Street hill will be shaved down, and the intersections raised up.
The intersection of Old Randolph and Thicket Street is also slated to eventually receive state funds ($198,539).
Stone said the bridge design for the Central Street bridge replacement is complete, but the town is still waiting for state approval, meaning work may not begin until next year. The town has also applied for a state Small Bridge Grant to replace the Centre Avenue Bridge, which was built in 1880(!!).
The sewer main replacment project is largely done. Summer Street and Vernon Street will be paved curb-to-curb soon, Stone said. The town is waiting to hear from the state about how Routes 18 and 123 should be repaved.
Stone asked residents for a “bit of patience” as the department hits its busiest season. The department is currently filing potholes, cleaning up after plowing season, and preparing athletic fields.
The board is expected to vote at its next meeting whether to lower the quorum for the Annual Town Meeting from 150 registered voters to 75. A pandemic-related state law allows municipalities to temporarily reduce town meeting quorums, reflecting nervousness people may have gathering in large numbers. MOderator Shawn Reilly said, although the number of cases has dropped significantly, it’s better to be safe so that the town can pass its budget and take other needed actions. Selectman Alex Bezanson said the vote wouldn’t cap Town Meeting attendance at 75, rather set it as a minimum. “All 16,000 residents can attend,” he said.
Money approved to design a new station off Gliniewicz Way could be used to study the feasibility of a joint fire station and public works complex. Town Meeting approved $3 million last year to draft engineering plans for the new consolidated fire station, but theproject has run into obstacles prompting the Fire Station Building Committee to pivot towards the Central Avenue site. Selectmen voted unanimously to place the article on the warrant.
In his regular report, Town Manager Scott Lambiase said he is putting out an RFP looking for any property owners in the Route 18/Washington Street corridor interested in seeling their land to the town for a new fire station. Also, the town is working with National Grid to identify whether any town vehicles could be replaced with electric vehicles; he’s looking to have the town join a municipal health insurance cooperative (the town currently self-funds); consultants are also looking into the feasibility of installing a charging station for electric vehicles; and he wants to review the town’s financial policies.