Health Department Finds Evidence Of Rodents At Wellesley Community Center

Council on Aging's food service shut down, office relocated to Town Hall temporarily.

The Wellesley Council on Aging was operating from Town Hall Friday, its food program shut down since Tuesday after the Board of Health found evidence of rodents at the Wellesley Community Center at 219 Washington St.

Wellelsey Health Director Mary Suresh said inspectors took a look at the building, home to the COA and Youth Commission, at the request of the Board of Selectmen. They began in the kitchen and worked their way through the building from there. She said they found evidence of rodents in the kitchen, so the department issued an order to suspend food service. 

Suresh said the Board of Selectmen asked the department to inspect the building because of the two town departments housed there, and an interest in the cleanliness of the food service area. Also, "The Council on Aging wanted the situation assessed," Suresh said.

Suresh said the Community Center has been working with her department on pest control and improving the cleanliness of the kitchen. Suresh praised the Community Center management's cooperation and hard work to solve the problem. "We're very confident that this will be resolved pretty quickly," she said. Suresh said the Health Department has only suspended food service at the building. Other services are clear to operate at the center, she said.

Suresh said that this is the first time this problem has been discovered at the Community Center. She added that similar orders are often issued for the town's restaurants. It's not unusual, she said, for food service to be suspended at an eatery during lunch time, with the problem fixed in time for dinner.

COA Director Gayle Thieme said her office received word of the order late Monday, and shut down food services at the department's offices within the Wellesley Community Center Tuesday. The COA is providing meals to seniors who depend on the department's kitchen using the local Meals on Wheels program.

On Friday morning, Thieme said, the COA began operating from Town Hall. This afternoon, a note on the Council on Aging office read that the department was at Town Hall temporarily, and listed the number there: 781-235-3961.

Thieme said the COA will continue to operate out of Town Hall on Monday, but she hopes the problem will be resolved soon, to avoid disrupting the department's services.  

David Walsh at the Community Center could not be immediately contacted for comment. Office workers at the Community Center deferred questions to Walsh.



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