| Sarah Heinonen
EAST LONGMEADOW – During the Jan. 12 East Longmeadow Town Council meeting, Councilor Donald Anderson announced that he will not seek re-election when his term ends in June. Anderson, who has served on the council since its inception in 2016, has held various elected offices in town for 28 of the past 33 years. He said he was “blessed and humbled by our citizens’ confidence in me.”
Residents who wish to run for any local government seats can take out papers beginning Feb. 4.
Town Manager Mary McNally updated the council on several happenings in town. She said the new Council-On-Aging director, Mary Beth Dowd, is working on getting meals-on-wheels drivers vaccinated against the coronavirus as they fit some criteria for Phase 1 of the state’s vaccination schedule.
McNally also informed the council that 10 percent of East Longmeadow Police Department (ELPD) have tested positive for the coronavirus. The absences will have an impact on the ELPD budget, she warned.
The town’s Master Plan Steering Committee is underway and working with the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission (PVPC) to determine in what direction the town will be moving over the next few years. With funding through a grant, the PVPC has contracted with Barrett Consulting for help with planning. McNally told the council there will be a public outreach session on Feb. 13 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. to receive opinions from residents on what should be in Master Plan.
Bethany Yeo, director of Planning and Community Development for East Longmeadow received a petition from the PVPC as part of its effort to expand rail trails throughout Western Mass. McNally said she hoped the bike trail in East Longmeadow could be expanded as part of that initiative.
McNally shared the news that the Friends of the East Longmeadow Public Library, who spent $29,000 in 2020 to replace portions on the carpet in the library will donate another $45,000 to finish all of the carpet replacement. McNally expressed her gratitude to the organization.
With Recreation Department Assistant Tim Larocca’s upcoming resignation, McNally said the department has two openings. She praised the work done by Recreation Director Donna Prather and Deputy Director Geordie Emmanuel, especially as the department is undermanned.
On a related note, Town Accountant Stephen Lonergan read out the names of 22 donors, both businesses and individuals, that raised nearly $94,000 for the recreation department’s new seasonal ice rink.