Message from the Friends of the North 40

Dear Friends of the North 40, 

On Tuesday, members of the Natural Resources Commission (NRC) announced that they are seeking amendments to changes to the structure of the Natural Resources Commission being brought forth by the Town Government Study Committee at upcoming Special Town Meeting beginning Nov 2.

The NRC statement follows, and Town Meeting Members can be reached via the Town’s website.

School News: The new Hardy/Hunnewell/Upham Facilities Project Page on the Town Website can be viewed here. The School Superintendent and members of the School Committee also appeared last night before the Advisory Committee and referenced the North 40

NRC Seeks to Retain Independent Role to Protect Public Open Space and the Environment

To supporters of the Wellesley Natural Resources Commission:

Last night, the members of the Wellesley NRC voted on final language for three amendments to the Town Government Study Committee (TGSC) proposal that will be considered at the Special Town Meeting convening on November 2. The TGSC is proposing sweeping changes to Wellesley’s form of government after a review of the current structure. The members of the NRC are concerned that the proposed changes will compromise the ability of the NRC to accomplish its mission to protect the environment, conserve open space, and promote recreation in Wellesley. 

Through our amendments, we will ask Town Meeting Members to allow the NRC to retain the independence granted by an act of the Massachusetts State Legislature when the NRC was created in 1978. This independent status is similar to the status accorded to the School Department and the Municipal Light Department and their respective boards.

The structure proposed by the TGSC would place the NRC’s department in a new “Planning and Land Management Division,” several layers down in the Town organizational chart, under the Board of Selectmen, the Town Manager, and a Deputy Town Manager. The responsibility for supervising, hiring, and firing the NRC Director would also be shifted from our board to a Deputy Town Manager who would function as the director of this new division. We are deeply concerned that this structure will compromise the independence of the NRC and restrict our ability to execute our environmental mission. For nearly 40 years, the NRC has been an independent voice for environmental concerns in Wellesley, helping maintain the Town’s natural beauty and quality of life. We had hoped the changes proposed by TGSC would allow the NRC to continue to function independently. Ultimately, we determined that the proposal of amendments was our only option.

We wholeheartedly support the concept of a town manager and would like to follow the example of other towns, such as Brookline, Winchester, and Weston, that have very effective town managers who work in collaboration with independent elected boards. In looking at comparable towns, it is clear that there is no one-size-fits-all structure for town government – each town has worked out its own particular solution, and we would like to find a balanced solution for Wellesley.

The NRC was created in response to public dissatisfaction over how open space was managed in Wellesley. In 1977, Town Meeting Members voted to consolidate the management of open space in an elected Natural Resources Commission with a broad mission of stewardship over conservation land, parks, and natural resources, including public education and advocacy. NRC projects include:

  • the successful campaign to purchase and preserve Centennial Reservation
  • the Integrated Pesticide Management program, which limits the use of pesticides on public land, including parks and playing fields
  • the restoration of historic Fuller Brook Park
  • the ongoing restoration of Morses Pond
  • the protection and enhancement of the Town’s tree canopy through the Tree Planting program for which Wellesley has received the Tree City USA Award for 32 consecutive years.

The pressures on Wellesley’s natural resources and open space are increasing with every passing year. As more and more private open space in town is lost to development, we must continue to preserve and protect our public open space. 

We ask you to support the NRC as an independent voice for the environment and open space, and we ask all Town Meeting Members to vote to approve our amendments.

To learn more about the NRC’s position, please click here.

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School changes may make way for development on North 40

Letter from Hardy Principal

Dear Hardy Families:

On Tuesday night Matt Kelley, one of the School Facilities Committee representatives presented their recommendations regarding the future of Hardy, Hunnewell and Upham facilities. A link to the presentation is below:

http://www.wellesley.k12.ma.us/sites/wellesleyps/files/file/file/hhu_presentation_final.pdf

Dr. Lussier and Matt Kelley will be at Hardy to share these recommendations with the Hardy parents on Monday, Oct. 5th at 7:00 in the Hardy gym.  

A summary of the recommendations and timeline are below:

Recommendation:

  • Build new Upham while continuing to occupy existing building
  • Move Upham students into the new building and temporarily relocate Hunnewell students
  • Renovate and expand Hunnewell and provide additional parking
  • Close Hardy
  • Redistrict into six schools
  • Total student capacity: 961
  • Estimated total cost: $105M
  • Estimated initial annual operating cost savings: $550K

Proposed Schedule Milestone Date

  • TM appropriation for feasibility and schematic design for both schools ATM Spring 2016
  • Feasibility and schematic design May 2016 – March 2017
  • TM appropriation for detailed design and construction for both schools ATM Spring 2017
  • Debt exclusion vote May 2017
  • Detailed design and permitting June 2017 – Dec 2018
  • Construction of new Upham December 2018 – June 2020
  • New Upham opens,
  • Hunnewell students are relocated September 2020
  • Renovation of Hunnewell July 2020 – January 2022
  • Renovated Hunnewell reopens September 2022
  • Hardy closes September 2022

Thank you, 

Charlene Cook, Principal

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North 40 Closing scheduled for Tonight!

All interested parties should attend tonight’s closing where the Town of Wellesley purchases the North 40.
Monday June 8th 
6:30 PM
Wellesley Town Hall
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Survey on 900 Worcester St!

The 900 Street Worcester Street Committee continues to make progress towards a recommendation for recreation facilities on the site. As many of you know, the top priorities for the location are an ice rink, aquatics facility and playing field. By the end of June the town plans to release a RFP (Request for Proposals) for the site. However, before this can be done the town must understand the demand for aquatics among residents in order to evaluate incoming proposals.

To answer these questions Wellesley has hired consultants to perform an aquatics feasibility study. ConsultEcon, Inc. in partnership with Isaac Sports Group, is tasked with providing the town a detailed understanding of its needs. In order to perform their research, they have created a survey and plan to host public forum on June 11 in Town Hall at 7:00 pm to present initial findings and gather feedback from the community. In addition, they are reaching out to over sixty aquatic programs and facilities in the area to provide an in-depth understanding of demand and economic patterns in the area.

This survey builds on the aquatics survey completed in 2012 by the town. It offers an independent analysis of town needs. It will enable a better understanding of resident needs versus residents of neighboring towns. It also will clearly define the economics supporting an aquatics facility, including suggested pricing, revenue and expense analysis. For these reasons it is imperative we gather as much input as possible.

We are asking all Wellesley residents to please fill out the aquatics survey. You can also go to the town’s website to find the survey. It will only take a minute.

By the end of June Wellesley will receive a detailed report, complete with suggested facility amenities and programming schedules. This report is critical for evaluating proposals that include aquatic facilities on 900 Worcester Street.

Thank-you for your support!

Matthew McKay and Suzy Littlefield
Co-Chairs
900 Worcester St. Aquatics Sub-committee

CLICK HERE FOR SURVEY

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Why the North 40 is still a hot topic – Townsman

IMG_6210

Click on image to read.

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Notes on the Board of Selectmen Meeting – May 18, 2015

The Purchase and Sale Agreement for the North 40 is due to be signed on June 8th at a 4 p.m. (Note: Meetings for the summer will be in the late afternoon.)

  • Modifications to the Agreement include an additional five acres of land being set aside for CPC.
  • Wellesley College insisted that 26.7 acres are to be allocated for open space.
  • The parties are still working out some issues with Dark Skies requirement.
  • 13.3 acres remain for potential development (there was conversation about housing, senior housing, recreational facility,  playing fields, roads)
  • Environmental concerns will become clearer later this year and early in 2016.  This may delay the process of development.
  • Bond and financial information was discussed.  Please see meeting on Wellesley Media for details.

 Next meeting is slated for June 1st at 4 p.m.

http://vp.telvue.com/preview?id=T01662&video=40945

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Public Meetings to be held to discuss the Town Government Study

The Town Government Study Committee hopes that you will attend one of two public sessions to discuss its Draft Recommendations.

The Draft Recommendations include:

  • establishment of the position of Town Manager as the top administrative position for the community;
  • creation of a process for a Strategic Plan for the Town;
  • creation of a Land Use Division involving those boards involved with land use; and
  • appointment, rather than election, of the position of Town Clerk and the Boards of Assessors, Health and Public Works.

The meetings are scheduled for:

Wednesday, May 20 at 7:00 pm in the Great Hall, Town Hall

Thursday, May 28 at 9:00 am in the Wakelin Room, WFL

We are eager to take questions and obtain your feedback. We will be reflecting on the feedback  and refining the Draft Recommendations over the summer so that we have a full package early in the fall. The Board of Selectmen have set fall special town meeting date for October 26, 27 to take up the final recommendations and other matters that may be on the warrant.

Our PowerPoint for the Draft Recommendations is on the Town website at the Town Government Study Committee page.

Our entire presentation is now on UTube at https://youtu.be/CnOdbj7c5IA

Please also feel free to contact us at TGSC@wellesleyma.gov.

Katherine Babson, Chair, Town Government Study Committee

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