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Health Department Clears Community Center, Town Waits On Final Work

Some work remains before Council on Aging will move back to site.

The Council on Aging remained in temporary quarters in Town Hall's Great Hall Friday, though the Health Department has cleared the Wellesley Community Center for food service again.

"We're having a very nice celebration today," said David Walsh, manager of the Wellesley Community Center, during Friday afternoon's dedication ceremony naming the Rte. 16 bridge after David Locke, a former state senator and selectman. The event drew about 100 people, among them Selectman Chairman Gig Babson, State Rep. Alice Peisch, State Senator Richard Ross and U.S. Senator Scott Brown. The Wellesley Community Center hosted a reception indoors before and after the ceremony, which took place on a small square along the road passing over the bridge.

"We're very, very pleased that the Community Center is the focus for this building dedication," Walsh said. He noted that the Wellesley Health Department has cleared the building for food service again. Food serving was suspended at the building Aug. 20 after an inspection from town facilities workers and a Wellesley Health Department inspector found evidence of mice in the building. 

The Community Center management brought in professional cleaners to have a crack at the spot, and Walsh himself was visible during the weeks between Aug. 20 and Friday afternoon inspecting the premises. "We're proud that the building looks as nice as it does," Walsh said.

At the Selectmen's office, though, officials were still waiting on additional work before moving the Council on Aging staff back to the 219 Washington St. building. "There are ongoing discussions between the Selectmen's Office and the Community Center," said Council on Aging Director Gayle Thieme. She said whether to move back to their offices at the Community Center or not was not up to her.

At the selectmen's office, Deputy Director Chris Ketchen noted that a second inspection on Sept. 7 did clear the building for food service, but additional issues raised during the first inspection, such as ventilation, had not been resolved. Ketchen said his office is waiting for word from the Community Center management that all of the town's concerns have been addressed before sending the Council on Aging staff members back.

Thieme noted that despite the COA's displacement, most services listed in the monthly newsletter are still being held, albeit at different venues. She urged seniors to give the office a call at 781-235-3961 to get updates on where their programs have been switched. 

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