The Dedham Select Board unanimously approved at its Wednesday

The Dedham Select Board unanimously approved at its Wednesday meeting the creation of a six-person working group to revise a plan for a town green at the site of the current police station.

The police station will become vacant once construction of the new public facilities building is complete later this year. This move created an opportunity for a different use for the parcel. The Dedham Square Planning Committee gathered information for two years from residents and businessowners on the best use for the land, and a town green overwhelmingly was approved.

However, the original proposal also included the Verizon building next door. This building no longer is available for consideration as part of the project, so the vision for the land needs to be scaled back and redesigned.

Last month, the Select Board voted to appropriate $2.5 million toward the design and construction of the town green.

“As we all know, the bord has been working very hard to try to find a solution for the Dedham police station site, which will be coming available quicker than we realize,” said Select Board member Dennis Teehan. “Really, one of the things I think this board has realized over the last few weeks is that it would be a good idea to have a working group to take some of the principles of the Dedham Square Planning Committee and integrate them into an actionable plan.”

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He noted that the Dedham Square Planning Committee’s work included providing “conceptual designs.”

“Our mission is to incorporate something into reality,” Teehan explained, noting that a working group will help the board accomplish that goal. The board would advise Town Manager Leon Goodwin on decisions such as the request for qualifications for a designer.

Teehan made a motion that the working group include six members – five appointed by the Select Board and one by the nominated by the Dedham Square Planning Committee and confirmed by the board.

After making the motion, Teehan said he “would prefer” that two members from the Dedham Square Planning Committee be included in the working group.

“That’s not about people,” he said, noting the work the committee has invested in the project. “That’s about principles.”

He went on to talk about the need for compromise on the project.

“Compromise is an acknowledgement of the limitations of our perspective and an acknowledgement of the respect for the viewpoints of others,” Teehan said.

While future generations may not care about the working group’s size, he pointed out that they will remember the outcome of the project for generations in what he called “a once in a century opportunity.”

Newly elected Select Board member Erin Boles Welsh agreed that a seven-member group would be a better option “as a recognition of the two years of dedicated service” on the part of the committee.

“I think that the community feedback that was incorporated into the process sets a new benchmark for community decision-making in town,” she said.

Earlier in the meeting, Boles Welsh thanked the community for electing her to the Select Board.

“I’m really excited to be here,” she said. “It’s an honor to be here to serve my fellow Dedham residents.”

She thanked her family members for their support and their presence at her swearing in ceremony at the beginning of the meeting, as well as campaign volunteers, friends and voters for helping her bring her goal to fruition.

“We are a civically engaged community with significant town pride,” Boles Welsh said. “That was shown through our election this year. I’m really excited to represent your thoughts and ideas over the next three years.–186310191/–186310216/–186310228/–186310191/–186310216/–186310228/–186310191/–186310216/–186310228/

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