Marlborough mayor outlines city progress

Marlborough mayor outlines city progress

MAIN STREET JOURNAL – Mayor Arthur Vigeant was the featured speaker at a recent Marlborough Rotary Club luncheon and he used the opportunity to outline areas of progress in the city over the past year, in what was essentially an informal “State of the City” address.

Subjects the mayor touched upon included road construction projects, recreation facilities, economic development, French Hill revitalization, and what he described as his “biggest success.”

Vigeant began by noting that the reconstruction project on Route 85/Maple Street is nearing completion. “That’s been a federal project, so we are on their timeline, and the good thing is that we’re on their budget,” he said. “They just kept finding one thing after another every time they were digging in the road.”

Work to the north on Route 85/Bolton Street is also nearing completion. That timeline was extended when the gas company decided to replace all the gas lines.

Turning his attention to the new elementary school project, the mayor said, “We broke ground and are moving forward on our new school. It’s on schedule to be open in September of 2020.”

Regarding recreational facilities, Vigeant noted that the city opened a new turf field at the high school. No plans have been set for an official dedication.

The first turf field at Whitcomb School was dedicated to Marlborough icon John Noble who died in 2014. “He’s been such a friend to so many of us over the years and he definitely earned it over his lifetime,” said the mayor.

Vigeant also noted the city’s plans to open a splash pad at Stevens Park later this year, but confessed he was really shocked at the popularity of the first city splash pad at Ghiloni Park.  “It’s been a great addition to the city and we don’t want to leave the old neighborhoods out so we decided to build a second one up in the French Hill area.”

Turning his attention to energy, the mayor said, “We’re greening things up in the city.” Marlborough has purchased two electric vehicles this year and installed two charging stations, one at City Hall and one at the DPW. It is still up in the air on who will be allowed to use the charging stations but the Mayor hopes to open them up to everyone in the city.

Regarding economic development, the mayor was excited to report that Candela Corporation chose to relocate to Locke Drive in Marlborough, bringing two hundred employees from Wayland and promising to grow by one hundred more.

“It’s been a little bit of a difficult area (Locke Drive area) as far as getting some tenants down there,” said Vigeant. “We’re real excited to get the old Verizon building half leased up and we’re working on the rest of it.”

The mayor had high praise for the city’s first brewpub, Flying Dreams, which opened late last year, and for Lost Shoe Brewing and Roasting Company that is expected to open soon. Flying Dreams is located next to the Walker Building and Lost Shoe is behind City Hall.

Touching on city events and activities, the mayor said that the Farmers Market, Citywide Project Clean Sweep, Hazardous Waste Collection Day, and Concerts on the Common will all be returning this spring.

The mayor closed by addressing the city’s new hiring process. “I tell people my biggest success when I look back on things over the years is going to be the elimination of civil service in Marlborough,” said the mayor.

The civil service process basically requires applicants to take a test, and forces municipalities to take who ever scored the highest, without consideration of any other factors.

“It’s so difficult to work under that program,” said Vigeant. “Now we go through a regular interview process just like most of you do for your businesses.”

Rotarian Emily Greenwood asked what the substance was that city trucks have been dumping on city streets. “We’re trying to put something down so the ice does not build up as quickly,” said the mayor. “It’s like a pre-ice melt. If it works great, we’ll keep using it.”

Asked about the Marlborough Airport site the mayor confirmed that the property was sold to a developer who hoped to build an over-55 residential development. There has been some resistance from abutters and it is currently unclear what will happen.

The parcel of land at the northeast corner of Lincoln Street and Mechanic Street was also discussed. The city worked with Marlborough Economic Develop­ment Corporation (MEDC) to purchase that land.

For more than twenty years, it had been a site that many administrations had unsuccessfully attempted to purchase. “I don’t know if it was the right time of day, or day of the week, but we were (finally) able to negotiate a deal.”

The mayor noted that MEDC executed the purchase, rather than the city, because RFPs (requests for proposals) sent out by MEDC can include certain restrictions on what will be built there.

“We want to be sure whoever comes in to develop that property does something that will be a benefit to the city,” said the mayor.  “We’re looking for a mixed use project that’s going to do something for that entire neighborhood.”

Vigeant also noted that the Lincoln Street area has been rezoned in an effort to attract development. “We’re hoping to bring that old neighborhood back to life,” he said.

Developer Mark O’Hagan is planning to replace the John Rowe Funeral Home next to Union Common with an office/retail/residential development, named Tavern on the Green. “He was the last one to come in and I truly believe he will be the first one in the ground come spring,” said the mayor.

Enza Sambataro is the developer who is planning to  build above the former People’s United Bank building, and eastward, by replacing the single floor building at 163 Main Street. “I am told that is going to be in the ground starting in April,” said the mayor.

Vigeant is also optimistic about the Marilyn Green property at the corner of South Bolton Street and Granger Boulevard. According to the mayor, Green is seeking to obtain three small pieces of adjacent state owned property. “As far as I know, that is the only catch in getting her project going,” added the mayor.

This article by Jim Ash originally appeared here.
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