Wilton Selectboard agrees on a final plan for the Wilson Lake project

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WILTON – In a brief meeting on Tuesday night, the Wilton Selectboard voted 4:1 to approve Plan A for the Wilson Retaining Wall project. The project has been under discussion for several months now, and both engineers and members of the public have weighed in on what plans they preferred for the lake. The plan that was approved was favored by members of the community on social media. It includes diagonal parking, a walkway with a railing, and less grass around the viewing area.

“At this point, we have no idea if it will cost us $20,000 or $1 million, so we need to move forward to get that idea,” said Town Manager Rhonda Irish, who will be taking the board’s approval to the overseeing engineers to get final cost estimates for the agreed-upon plan.

Fire Chief Sonny Dunham attended the meeting and presented his annual report. There are now 21 active firefighters in the unit. Since January there have been 77 calls, which, according to Dunham, is relatively high.

“The call volume has been up. It’s been erratic. It’s been very active since January,” said Dunham.

Dunham also felt fortunate to admit that only two firefighters contracted Covid, and currently a little over half of the personnel have been vaccinated.

“The younger personnel is not interested,” said Dunham. “For whatever reason, they definitely will not take it.”

Board member Tom Saviello reported that he’d recently spoken to Farmington’s Fire Chief Terry Bell, who noticed the same behaviors among his own personnel.

Heinz Gossman of the Water Department acquired the involvement of two board members to form a committee and interview possible engineering companies to head the upcoming transmission project. The proposed project will span from Farnham Point to Weld Street in Wilton.

“It’s a large, multi-year project. It will probably require applications for other loans and grants,” said Irish.

Despite the commitment and potential economic investment, the Selectboard agreed with Gossman in prioritizing the project.

Irish was recently approached by a member of the community who discussed with her the possibility of using TIF funds or funds from the Economic Development Fund to match grants given to businesses in the area. The town has previously used funds to provide loans to parties, making this an additional expense but not an unfamiliar one. The board received the idea positively and asked Irish to go forward to acquire more information on the possibility of approving this.

“I’m always looking for economic development and for ways to bring new business into our town,” said Selectboard member Tiffany Maiuri.

Nomination papers for both school board and selectmen positions are still available. They must be completed and returned by April 12 for nominations to be considered.

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