Weekly Town Manager Newsletter
Dear Ashland Residents & Friends,

Hope this week's newsletter finds you all well. I have a couple of quick updates.

For those following the town's fight against the Eversource gas transmission line, we recently received good news. The Energy Siting Facilities Board, the state agency charged with permitting such projects, declared that the record be re-opened, which will allow us to present even more evidence about the damaging effects of this project.

We recently held a local vaccination clinic in the town of Hopkinton, which went very well. As of today, we have vaccinated almost 50% of residents 75 and older, and 10% of all residents. Thank you to Sgt Ed. Burman, Assistant Town Manager Jenn Ball, as well as the staff at the community center for helping direct such a helpful event.

Local Boards of Health (not just Ashland) have been ready and willing to help distribute vaccines to our residents, only to be left with changing information (sometimes daily) on how to receive the vaccine and how to distribute it. But we have now learned that local Boards of Health will not have access to ANY vaccine, as doses will now be redirected to mass vaccination sites like Gilette stadium. Regardless of these frustrating situations, our local COVID team stands ready to work with our colleagues in state government to help vaccinate our residents.

Hope everyone is staying warm and dry in this weather. Personally, I am ready for spring!


Michael Herbert
Town Manager
Latest COVID-19 Updates
State of MA COVID-19 Vaccine Information

Starting Thursday, February 18th, people 65 and older, low-income and affordable senior housing residents and staff, people with 2+ certain medical conditions are also eligible for the vaccine as the State of Massachusetts enters Phase 2 Group 2. Individuals in Phase 1 and Phase 2 Group 1 are still eligible for the vaccine and can make appointments at any time.



Eligible for the vaccine- Find a location, book your appointment, and fill out your attestation form HERE. Appointments are based on the number of vaccines at the given location. At the state vaccination sites, appointment slots will be posted on Thursdays for the following week. For the smaller locations, check the websites frequently for appointment availability.
Local Cases in Ashland
The following information as of February 18, 2021

Local Confirmed Cases in Ashland= 1,247
Ashland has 1,247 positive confirmed cases for COVID-19 with 1,221 cleared cases, 176 probable cases, and 172 cleared probable cases. 

Click to enlarge image
Click to enlarge image
COVID- 19 Update

Did you know, The COVID-19 incubation timeline is up to 14 days?

For example, on Day 0, Joe is exposed to the virus. On Day 4, Joe learns he was exposed to COVID-19 and self-isolates. On Day 5, he gets tested for COVID19 and the results come back negative. On day 8, Joe goes back to work and attends a small gathering, because the result was negative. Meanwhile, Joe does have COVID-19 and is contagious without having symptoms, exposing others. On day 10, Joe develops symptoms and tests positive for COVID-19.

Read this article from Sgt. Burman for more information regarding COVID-19
Local Information
Watch the latest video update

Watch the latest update with Town Manager, Michael Herbert on our YouTube Channel here.

Highlights of the video include:
-Construction Update for the 126/ Pond Street revitalization project
-MBTA Public Forum regarding changes in service beginning in March and April.
-Economic Development Team launches Ashland Biz Buzz
- Ashland Fire Dept receives grants
- Special Town Election remarks and reminder for nomination papers for available seats
-COVID-19 Update in our community
-COVID-19 Vaccination update in our Community.
Construction to Rt. 126/ Pond Street

For those interested in the Pond Street project, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) is announcing that preliminary work for the Ashland- Route 126 Roadway Reconstruction Project will begin the week of February 22, 2021. The public should expect to see the contractor on-site during the hours of 7:00 am and 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday however traffic will not be impacted until after 8:30 am. 

Early work items include tree clearing throughout the project corridor spanning from the Framingham town line to the Holliston town line followed by drainage work starting in mid-March. Route 126 will remain open to traffic in each direction throughout the duration of the preliminary work. Roadway impacts will be shoulder takings and lane restrictions. 

Construction signage will soon be installed. Tree clearing will begin next week and will last two weeks, depending on the weather. The first week involves heavy clearing, and the following week will have moderate clearing. The clearing will begin at Algonquin Trail and then move from the Holliston line to the Framingham line. 

The $21 million Ashland-Route 126 Roadway Reconstruction Project consists of full-depth construction along Route 126 (Pond Street) for 1.7 miles. Work consists of milling and resurfacing with minor box widening, concrete retaining walls, drainage improvements, utility relocations, installation of granite curbing and edging, and the construction of sidewalks. Pedestrian safety and accessibility improvements will be included along with bicycle accommodations consisting of a 5’ usable shoulder. The project will also install a roundabout at the Spyglass Hill Drive and make traffic signal upgrades or installations at the intersections of Elliot Street, Algonquin Trail, and the Market Basket driveway. 

For questions or to report issues related to the project, please email dot.feedbackdistrict3@dot.state.ma.us if you need any additional information. 

Drivers who are traveling through the work area should reduce speed and use caution. The schedule for this project is weather-dependent and subject to change without notice.
Sign up for Rt. 126/ Pond St. Project Updates
The Route 126/Pond Street revitalization project will begin in the coming weeks. The Town of Ashland is working closely with the State to bring you the most up-to-date information in regards to construction

We will also share project updates on the Town of Ashland website, ashlandmass.com, in our newsletters, and through our social media channels- Facebook and Instagram @TownofAshlandMA, Twitter @ashlandmass.

Sign up here
Ashland COVID-19 Rental Assistance Program

I would like to remind everyone that in response to the loss of income to households due to Covid-19, we have created a housing assistance program. This program has been created and funded by the CARES Act funds granted to the Town of Ashland and the Affordable Housing Trust utilizing their Community Preservation Act funds. This program seeks to be efficient and responsive. It is temporary in nature. Applications will be processed on a rolling basis beginning July 7, 2020. Many thanks to Assistant Planner Emma Snellings, as well as the Affordable Housing Trust for administering this program.

For more information visit: the Planning Department Webpage
2021 Annual Town Election
Nomination Papers Available Now

If you are interested in any of the seats available, please contact the Town Clerk's Office to set up an appointment to collect the appropriate paperwork.

Keep in mind, If you are elected at the Annual Town Election you MUST be sworn-in with the Town Clerk prior to participating in any board meetings to which you have been elected to serve. This oath must be given in person.

Seats Available in 2021
Select Board: 3 years (vote for 2) expires 2024
Board of Assessors: 3 years  (vote for 1)    expires 2024
School Committee: 3 years  (vote for 2)    expires 2024
Board of Library Trustee: 3 years  (vote for 2)    expires 2024
Board of Health: 3 years  (vote for 2)    expires 2024
Board of Health: 2 years (to fill an unexpired term) expires 2023
Housing Authority: 5 years (vote for 1)   expires 2026
Housing Authority: 1 year (to fill an unexpired term) expires 2022
Planning Board: 5 years  (vote for 1)   expires 2026

All nomination papers must be filed with the Town Clerk on or before Tuesday, March 30, 2021, at 5 pm.

Upcoming Meetings & Events
Visit the Town of Ashland Website Calendar for committee meetings and agendas

Visit the Town of Ashland Event Calendar for upcoming events
Forging Ahead- Virtual Public Meeting with the MBTA

February 24th from 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Join The MBTA Service Planning team for a virtual public meeting to learn about temporary schedule changes that go into effect in March and April of 2021.

As part of the presentation the service planning team will cover the following:
-Why route changes are necessary
-The service planning process
-Specifics of the service changes and impacted routes
-Other key elements on MBTA's response to the pandemic

During the meeting, attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions and provide input on future service changes.

For more information visit, www.mbta.com/servicechanges
Shout Outs!
Welcome, 2020- 2021 New Hires!

I want to warmly welcome new members of our talented, educated, experienced, and friendly staff to our team.

Their names and roles are as follows: 

  • Talia Seavey, Decisions at Every Turn Coalition Program Coordinator
  • Erin Early, Library Assistant at Ashland Public Library
  • Michael Cunningham, Ashland Police Department Dispatcher
  • Danielle Spinner, Kevin Lewis, and Vara Natarajan, Remote Learning Assistants at Ashland Recreation  
  • Meredith Madison, Ashland Human Services Food Pantry Coordinator  
  • Ana Vladimirov, Activity and Volunteer Coordinator at Ashland Senior Center
  • Aidan Shepard, Department of Public Works
  • Doug Scott, Building Commissioner
  • Justine Grassey, Assistant Animal Control Officer

Our Human Resources Director highlights these new hires in an article here
Local Business Information
Shop Local Ashland!

Don't forget to support our Ashland businesses! This pandemic is making it so difficult for our favorite places to stay open and provide with goods and food we love to have in our own backyard. If you are a regular diner or if you want to treat yourself to dinner out this week, please choose Ashland! Our restaurants and business owners need your help- pick up your favorite meal or family-style dinners to go, purchase gift cards, and leave positive reviews on social media. During these difficult times, think ASHLAND! Support all of the business owners who have supported our community groups throughout the years.

Click below for a quick list of shopping and dining options!
Introducing Ashland Biz Buzz!

The Ashland Economic Development Team launched a new page, Ashland Biz Buzz, on Facebook and Instagram. The new page aims to support local businesses by marketing products, and services available in our own backyard.

Follow this new page for promotions, deals, and special events to support our local business community.

We look forward to sharing the buzz all around Ashland!
Store
Updates from Economic Development
The Economic Development Department put together resources to help business owners establish a location in Ashland, maintain their business, and help reopen their establishment in the wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

GRANTS ARE AVAILABLE TO BUSINESSES!
DON'T WAIT!
To see a full list of possible grants and loans available to you visit the Economic Development Page of the town website:

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