It was a bittersweet meeting Tuesday night for Board of Selectmen Chairperson, Camille Anthony. After 18 years of service on the board (along with 12 years on the Conservation Commission), Anthony is stepping down and won't seek re-election.
“She exemplifies the goals of civic engagement and she has made the town a better place, thank you,” said Selectmen, Ben Tafoya.
Following more heartfelt comments from her peers, Anthony was presented with an adopted tree on behalf of the Selectmen. The gift was awarded by Town Manager Peter Hechenbleikner as part of the Spring 2012 “Taking Root for the Future” Arbor Day campaign to help maintain Reading's beauty and sustainability.
“It was her willingness to come at the issues without a personal agenda,” commented Selectmen Richard Schubert as conversation continued.
Next, Anthony was given her own hand-crafted street sign completed by the Recreation Department, a visual reminder of all her service to the town over the past 30 years.
Cake and coffee followed as town officials and friends gathered around the teary-eyed Anthony to wish her well in all her future endeavors and thank her for her dedicated service towards Reading.
“I'm absolutely blown away,” stated Anthony. “I can say, the gift of a tree couldn't be better, it's living and growing just like our town.”
Anthony then reaffirmed that she won't be leaving town politics behind completely as she seeks to join the Board of Assessors coming up on Tuesday's ballot.
“If I don't make the Assessors,” said Anthony, “there will be something else. This is who I am.”
Tuesday night's meeting saw the Selectmen approve the motion to create a Sturges Park Planning Committee. The committee will be composed of various facets of town government including: one member from the Recreation Committee, one member from Friends of Reading Recreation, one member from sports organizations that commonly use the park, three residents at large from the park area and one Selectmen.
In a long line of recreational projects for Reading, this latest project will use, “due diligence in terms of what's out their and help to add information and create a master plan to add to the overall master plan for parks and recreation,” said Selectmen, Peter Hechenbleikner. “This will not be a complete re-build, [Sturges Park] is in relatively good condition, so this will more be to address any fixes that need to be done.”
The Selectmen summed up that the Planning Committee will look to improve, re-build and re-establish the park and its playground. The criteria for the Planning Committee is as follows:
- Develop a general work plan for the project
- Review the park's uses and development
- Solicit input from the community and those living around the park
- Collaborate with Town Departments and Boards/Committees/Commissions regarding the park
- Create a Master Plan for the park
- Report to the Board of Selectmen routinely throughout the process
“One specific thing I want to find out is to get data on field use,” said Selectmen Richard Schubert. “I want to find out how our play and practice space is being used and discover what kind of demand there is through this project.”
The Selectmen will return to this issue as nominees come in for the Planning Committee, no potential members were mentioned at Tuesday's meeting.