The Reading 375th Celebration committee presented its preliminary plans to the Select Board at the board’s meeting on May 29. Committee Chair Philip Rushworth reported that arrangments are being made for a two-week celebration from May 31-June 15 of 2019 and will include a gala opening event, a porch fest, and an expanded Friends and Family Day with fireworks to end the two-week period. “If you were here for the 350th, you remember it.” Rushworth stated, “We want this celebration to be like that.” The committee is working with groups in town such as the library, the YMCA, the Lions Club, and the Pleasant Street Center to prepare more events for the two-week celebration. A “365 Days to the 375th” meeting at RCTV this Thursday, May 31 is scheduled for anyone interested in helping plan the event. Rushworth also informed the board about a Trivia Night on June 8 at 7:00 pm at RCTV that will raise money for the celebration. More information about Reading’s 375th birthday celebration can be located at www.reading375.com.
The Select Board voted 5-0 to approve a waiver for the 375th Celebration committee to hold a “Night Before the Fourth” event at Memorial Park on July 3, from 6:00 pm to 10:30 pm. The park normally closes at 10:00 pm. The event will include live music and will culminate in a movie shown on a giant screen in the park. The event is free to the public. “Wilmington does fireworks on the second and Wakefield on the fourth; this gives Reading an event on the third,” Rushworth concluded.
The board also voted 5-0 to continue a renegotiated municipal agreement with Wakefield for the Post Academy. The Academy provides training and other services for a few special education students post-high school. The renegotiated agreement changes the structure of how the academy is paid for and when assessments are determined. The School Committee voted to approve the agreement on Monday, May 21.
After an executive session, the Select Board decided not to use $100,000 of the $270,000 Affordable Housing Trust to aid in the purchase of a unit coming up for sale on Gazebo Circle. The unit is deed restricted but not currently a part of the town’s affordable housing inventory. Several members of the board stated that spending over one-third of the available trust fund for one unit seemed to be too high a price to pay. The board plans to collaborate with the Reading Housing Authority during the summer to prepare a plan to create a pro-active affordable housing committee that would seek to raise money for the fund and to use it to promote and develop more affordable housing in Reading. Creation of this committee would require a vote by Town Meeting.
The Select Board adjourned to executive session at 9:15 pm.