Public Safety Building & Golf Course: Public tour, forums and meetings; Warrant article to consider other sites; and potential Special Town Meeting

Above: More news related to the Town’s efforts to buy St. Mark’s Golf Course and build a combined public safety complex on the site. (photo left by Susan Fitzgerald, right posted to Facebook by Charles Kerbel Sr.)

The Town is preparing to make its case to voters on the St. Mark’s Golf Course land deal and building a new public safety complex. I had planned to wait on an update until after selectmen meet tonight. But there’s too much information to hold back.

At tonight’s Board of Selectmen meeting, you can expect an update on potential plans for a Special Town Meeting in March.

As Southborough Wicked Local reported, selectmen asked the Public Safety Committee and St. Mark’s Golf Course Master Plan Committee to work towards that deadline. It’s an aggressive timeline that would be hard for both committees to meet. But member John Rooney pushed that the land deal and project are too important to be buried among the Town’s general annual business at Annual Town Meeting. You can read more about that here.

A potential citizen’s petition article could make that more challenging by adding to the committees’ workloads. (Scroll down for that.)

In the meantime, the committees are gearing up. They asked me to promote the public events planned for this month and the next.

Hosted by the Public Safety Committee:

  • Station Tours – Saturday January 21st (9:00 am – 1:00 pm) @ Police and Fire Stations: The stations will be open for tours to the public so that residents can see the current working conditions. Members of the Public Safety Study Committee will also be on hand to answer questions about the new proposed facility forthcoming at the Special Town Meeting.
  • Public Info Session – Thursday January 26th (7:00 – 8:30 pm) @ Southborough Public Library: The purpose of this session will be to provide the latest information to residents in advance of Town Meeting, but also provide a forum for discussion and answer any questions.

That committee also asked me to share:

If residents can not attend one of the above sessions, but have questions, they can feel free to reach out to us via the Town Website under the “Ask the Committee” section. Our goal is to be as transparent as possible during this process and answer every possible question residents have in advance of this being presented on Town Meeting floor.

The St. Mark’s Golf Course Master Plan Committee is hosting five public sessions. Their intent is to discuss possible future uses of the 60 acre parcel in addition to a new public safety complex, if land is purchased by the Town.

The meetings will all be held on Wednesday evenings at 7:00 pm at Cordaville Hall (9 Cordaville Road.) Each will focus on getting input from a different public interest group, (though the public is invited to attend them all):

  • January 4: Recreation Commission and the Council on Aging
  • January 11: Abutters and current users of the St. Mark’s Golf Course
  • January 18: Southborough Open Space Committee and Southborough Historical Commission
  • January 25: Southborough Town Departments, Boards & Commissions (Planning, Assessors, Conservation, Zoning, Health, etc.)
  • February 2: General concerns of all community members

As for the citizen’s petition article – Jack Barron submitted an article asking voters to require the Town to present alternative sites and costs for the public safety complex or other buildings before voters agree to acquire the golf course. 

The petition reads:

To see if the Town of Southborough will vote to require that any warrant article or presentation at any town meeting for the acquisition of St. Marks golf course on Rote 85 Southborough, Mass. Has a concurrent presentation of alternative locations and cost comparisons for building any new fire, police stations or other municipal buildings. Alternative locations are to incluce the current existing location of the fire and police station as wall as the properties across the street from the St. Marks golf course starting at Cordaville Hall and all the properties to the North on Route 85 to the intersection of Main Street (route 30) acrsoss the Street from the Southborough Library. Or do or act anything in relation thereto. (Proposed by Jack Barron)

The document was signed by 16 residents. Adding it as an article to Annual Town Meeting in April only requires 10. If selectmen are successful in getting a land deal passed in March, the article as written would be moot by April. But, by my reading of state law, Barron could add force the article onto the March warrant if he collects another 84 voter signatures.

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