Cheshire: 2018 Year In Review
CHESHIRE, Mass. — In 2018 Cheshire celebrated its 225th birthday.
2018 marked a yearlong celebration for the town and a committee was formed to plan various events marking the town’s 225th birthday.
Events included a boat parade, historical reenactments and a kick off party held in March.
2018 also marked a shift in administration and long-time town administrator Mark Webber announced his retirement.
Although he was supposed to depart in November Webber agreed to stay on and help transition interim town administrator Ed St. John IV.
St. John, an attorney, and former selectman applied for the position in the fall and was the favorite of Selectwoman Carol Francesconi while Selectman Robert Ciskowksi favored Thomas Spiro, former program coordinator at Elms College's Greenfield campus and town administrative aide in Conway.
Gridlocked, Ciskowski said he would vote for St. John but would then resign.
That didn't happen because St. John pulled his name out of the ring, prompting the selectmen to look at hiring someone on an interim basis. The interim town administrator would bring the town to the May elections. With a full Board of Selectmen, there would be a tie-breaking vote.
Still girdlocked on who to bring on as an interim town administrator the Selectmen agreed to reach out to the three candidates to see if anyone was interested.
Just a few weeks ago the board agreed St. John would be the best choice since he is already up to date on issues in the town as well as familiar with employees.
St. John will either be hired at the end of his tenure or the board will reopen the search.
The town also had some infrastructure issues this year and this summer a portion of the fire station roof completely collapsed prompting the town to hold a special town meeting to make an $85,000 stabilization fund transfer to rebuild the roof.
Currently, the roof has been rebuilt and work is expected to be concluded this spring.
The incident brought awareness to other maintenance concerns at the fire station which the town is now addressing.
As for Cheshire Elementary School, which closed in 2016, the building reuse committee recommended that the town look at moving town hall to the building.
That would be considered a change of use and would likely mean the town would have to make improvements to the building to bring it up to code. The town will undergo an architectural review of the building.
In the meantime, the town does have some tenants in the building as well as some lined up to use lease.
In 2018 the town also became an Appalachian Trail Community and competed in a national water taste test competition.
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