The Winchendon Courier
Serving the community since 1878 ~ A By Light Unseen Media publication
Week of November 24 to December 1, 2022
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Town Manager Updates BOS on Movement Forward With Whites Mills

Winchendon receives a $740K Grant to Remove High-Risk Whites Mill Dam

Click image for larger view
Whites Mill Pond currently
Current view of Whites Mill Pond. The stretch between the two red bars will revert to a small stream, similar in size to the north branch of the Millers River on the other side of the mill complex.
Google Satellite image

At their meeting on Monday, November 14, Town Manager Justin Sultzbach briefed the Board of Selectmen on his recent work regarding the Whites Mill property in Winchendon Springs, particularly the dam by the mill which the state has designated a serious hazard. Since 2015, the entire 55-acre property has been under the stewardship of John and Amelia Giovanoni of Royalston, MA, through several different legal entities. Currently, the property is recorded in the Town of Winchendon Assessor's database and the Worcester County Register of Deeds as owned by the Mill Farm Initiative, Inc., of which John Giovanoni is listed as President, Treasurer and CEO and Amelia Giovanoni as Director, in the Massachusetts Secretary of State Corporate database.

"Since I got to town, I've been working pretty closely with some privately owned parcels in town in an effort to try to get them back online," Mr. Sultzbach began. "And one of the larger of those is the Whites Mill building up in Winchendon Springs along the New Hampshire border. So when we're looking at those types of parcels that are kind of underutilized, what I like to do is try to sit down and look at what the obstacles are and chip away at them one by one and make it a little bit easier to try to make those pieces of land useful. So for this one, I've been working with Peter Gagliardi for the past year and a half."

Mr. Gagliardi was working on behalf of the property owners, Mr. Sultzbach stated. He retired in 2020 after serving Way Finders Inc., a major developer of housing solutions based in Springfield, MA, as their CEO for 28 years. His career comprised "doing exactly this kind of work, working with communities to bring underutilized parcels back online. Oftentimes underutilized industrial parcels, and so Peter has really been a wealth of experience," Mr. Sultzbach said.

Describing an issue that has been a strong concern for some years, Mr. Sultzbach continued, "as part of that effort, one obstacle we did identify is the dam located on that property...a large earthen dam on this site, that kind of artificially built up this whole area. So a lot of it is wetland. There are some homes up at the further end which I think created some of that animosity in the past about potentially drawing down that body of water. It is a man made body of water. If the dam was breached, it would reduce that down to about a 10 foot wide river or creek where it was originally and there'd be pastoral land back there."

The dam has been identified by the state as a high hazard dam. "So the issue being that if that were to go, unfortunately the direction it would roll is straight down Maple [Street] and straight through downtown." While there would be some small risk of loss of life, there is a very large risk of impact to private property and public infrastructure.

Working with the property owners and Mr. Gagliardi, the Town Manager's office was able to obtain a $740,250 grant from the state Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs through its Dam and Seawall Program. "The important part is no matter who owns that property, whether it's the current owners, previous owners, future owners, the value of fixing and removing that obstacle on that property is going to stay in town, no matter who owns it. And I think the most important piece is, by removing that obstacle, it makes that parcel more appealing to future potential owners who could develop that property," Mr. Sultzbach emphasized.

Showing the Board a Google Street View of the mill complex, Mr. Sultzbach said, "If we could get something going on this property, I think there's high potential for mixed use commercial residential development, using the existing structures, or at least six out of seven of them. And in doing so, you'd be bringing this property back online, it would be generating tax revenues, so it takes some of that pressure off of all of our other residents and businesses. But you'd also be preserving this historic asset, and I think for Winchendon in particular given its unique history, manufacturing, it's important to try to preserve these buildings when you can." He spoke of the possibility of working with the state for funding, using a public/private partnership model, and extending town water and sewer to Winchendon Springs at the state's largesse. This could have the collateral benefit of creating more water and sewer users and help stabilize rates for everyone in town, without adding betterment fees because the state would provide the funding.

This was just laying some groundwork, Mr. Sultzbach stated. "If somebody wants to step forward to improve this parcel, that would very much be a community conversation. I would expect that any developer that would come through the door and want to work hand in hand with the town to make sure what they are putting in there, meshes and makes sense with the community's needs at that given time."

Board Chair Audrey LaBrie raised questions about the town investing resources in a privately owned property. Mr. Sultzbach clarified that that Mr. Gagliardi was working for the owners, not the town. "We want to make sure that the town's best interests are protected," he said. "For any decommissioned property in town, whether it be this one or another one, the RHI building, any of them, from an economic development perspective, that's very much one component of my role. I will always advocate for those businesses, all of them equally across the board. So there's no special treatment. IGA. We have a lot of them."

The Whites Mills have been waiting for movement forward for some eleven years. Built in 1860, the mills were used for cotton manufacturing, then hosted the White Woolen Mill. Around 1963 the buildings became home to Ray Plastics/Mylec Sports, which manufactured plastic toys there. At that time, Winchendon Springs was a village with its own zip code, and an annex to the mill complex housed the Winchendon Springs Post Office. In 2011, Ray Plastics/Mylec moved to their new facility out on Gardner Road. Since then, the Whites Mill complex has stood vacant. In 2013, the Boston-based Centers for Alternative Medicine approached the town about converting the mills into a medical marijuana growing facility, but this plan did not materialize.

According to the Worcester County Registry of Deeds, in April of 2015, the property was acquired by Brandywine Farms, Inc. (an entity of the Giovanonis), from Mill-Win Inc. (an entity of the LeClerc family who had owned the mills since 1963). Brandywine Farms immediately ran into costly site remediation needs, including the removal of contaminated soil, which was done, and the deteriorating earthen dam. Brandywine Farms appeared before the Board of Selectmen with a proposal to convert the buildings into low-income housing, but the plans did not move forward. In the summer of 2020, Brandywine Farms opened a Farmer's Market outside the mills, and described plans to develop the 100,000 square foot mill complex and its grounds into a mixed-use facility including apartments, hydroponic indoor farming, a grocery store, offices, community space, tiny houses for camping, a 50,000 square foot year-round greenhouse and an emergency water supply for the town. After a few weeks, the Farmer's Market closed. In October of 2020, Brandywine Farms transferred ownership to another entity of the Giovanonis, Mill Farm Initiative Inc., which is the current owner according to the Worcester County Registry of Deeds and the Town of Winchendon Assessors database.

In the fall of 2020, Mill Farm Initiative announced plans to breach the dam, and was talking with then-Director of Department of Public Works Al Gallant about coordinating the timing with the annual autumn draw-down of Lake Monomonac, to minimize the amount of water flow from the lake into the Millers River, according to then-Town Manager Keith Hickey. But the breach did not proceed at that time. Since the end of 2020, Winchendon citizens have not been made aware of any further plans for the property by Mill Farm Initiative. The mill buildings are continuing to deteriorate, with a portion of the roof having collapsed in one of the buildings.

For previous Courier coverage of the Whites Mills, see:

"Brandywine Farms Opens New Farmer's Market in Winchendon Springs" in the July 2-9 2020 edition of The Winchendon Courier

"Brandywine to Begin Breaching Dam by Former White Mill" in the September 17-24 2020 edition of The Winchendon Courier

"Mill Farm Initiative Seeks New TIF Agreement from the Town" in the October 29-November 5 2020 edition of The Winchendon Courier

"Board of Selectmen Deny Tax Abatement Request to Mill Farms Initiative" in the December 17-24 2020 edition of The Winchendon Courier

Also of interest:
"White's Mill Dam breach favored", Gardner News, September 7, 2018.

Click image for larger view
overhead view of mills complex
Overhead view of the mills complex. The dam is seen curving along the edge of the water to the right.
Google Satellite image
overhead view of mills complex
The mills seen from Glenallen Street in 2013.
Photo: Worcester Telegram & Gazette

Conservation Trusts Working to Protect Land Around Lake Monomonac

In its current newsletter, the Winchendon Springs Lake Association announced that a local partnership between North Country Land Trust and Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust is working on plans to permanently protect property around Lake Monomonac, including the headwaters of the Millers River which runs through town, from development.

The WSLA writes,

"One of the best ways to protect Lake Monomonac is to limit development within the Lake Monomonac watershed. Rising from the hills of New Hampshire's Wapack Range, the Millers River flows south over the Massachusetts border. In Winchendon, dams dating back to the colonial era turn the river into Lake Monomonac--a 700+ acre lake with a long, low-rising peninsula at its southern end.

"At one point, the construction of over 200 houses was proposed on a peninsula that extends into the lake. This would have dramatically impacted the beauty of the lake and potentially harmed water quality.

"Conserving this land would help link two existing pieces of Massachusetts' Winchendon Springs Wildlife Management Area, connecting them to hundreds of acres of forest conserved by the Town of Winchendon. The resulting protected landscape would include forest, wetlands, and much of the south shore of White's Mill Pond, and would ensure that species could range unimpeded through diverse habitats likelier to provide resilience despite climate change.

"This project offers a great opportunity to add recreational land for the town. Cart and timber roads on the hill offer many potential routes for new trails. The nearby wetlands are habitat for numerous varieties of native birds. Conserving the land also helps secure the watershed of both the lake and the pond which then drain into Whitney Pond and the Millers River.

"Taken together, the various parcels involve ~325 total acres, most of which will be permanently protected. North County has partnered with a conservation buyer who is generously funding a portion of the project by purchasing some of the land, with further project support provided by Mount Grace's Leigh Youngblood Conservation Opportunity Fund. Six additional lots (about 12 acres) with existing frontage on Route 202 will be reserved as housing sites, with the partners considering options for affordable housing. The rest of the land, including 200+ acres on the hill and 50 acres south of White's Mill Pond will be permanently protected and open for public use.

"Conserving Monomonac Forest will require community support to help the two land trusts guarantee that the land is open to the people of Winchendon for recreation and continues to provide critical wildlife habitat on the Millers River headwaters."
diagram of proposed land to be conserved
A somewhat rough diagram of the area that NCLT and MGLCT hope to preserve around Lake Monomonac.
Image credit: WSLA
The WSLA is partnering with North County Land Trust. NCLT recently purchased 201 acres on the south slope of Mount Watatic, which will eventually be transferred to the Department of Fish and Game and managed for public recreation.

In a multi-phase project, NCLT and Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust are working to purchase the majority of land once owned by Monomonac Lake Shores, Inc. "If successful, this land would then be permanently protected from development," the WSLA writes. "One parcel, which lies between Lakeview Drive and Monomonac Road West is more than 200 acres. Another 60 acres will be added to the Winchendon Springs Wildlife Management Area on the south side of White's Mill Pond. Working with the Department of Fish and Game, Mount Grace, a local private conservation buyer, town administrators, the WSLA, and many concerned Winchendon folks, NCLT is pulling the necessary partners together to get this project off the ground."

Monomonac Lake Shores, Inc. ceased to exist in the 1960s, so long ago that the Massachusetts Secretary of State Corporation Division has no record of it at all. It has left a large footprint on the Winchendon Zoning Map, which still shows more than a hundred individual parcels almost all of which have no information attached to them in the Town of Winchendon Assessor's database, and for which the current ownership and provenance is unclear. (The Worcester County Registry of Deeds shows many pages of tax takings and foreclosures.) Also shown on the present-day zoning map are planned streets for this massive proposed Levittown-on-the-Lake development, which exist only on paper. A small number of the lots currently have homes on them, but the vast majority are untouched woods. Another artefact of the aborted 1958 subdivision are restrictive deeds that violate the town's current zoning bylaws (specifically the Right To Farm bylaw).

The 253-acre parcel that comprises most of the central (non-waterfront) area of the peninsula was picked up on foreclosure by Auto Credit Rehab Corporation of Andover, MA from the Lake Monomonac Association in 2011, according to the Town of Winchendon Assessor's database. This parcel was extensively logged over the summer of 2022 and is now so sparsely treed, the change is clearly visible on Google Satellite images (such as the one of Whites Mill Pond at the top of this page). It had been listed for sale earlier this year, with the caveat that development potential was limited due to the parcel's importance to the Millers River watershed. This may be the parcel referred to above as being "more than 200 acres" and between Lakeshore Drive and Monomonac Road West.

Directly adjacent to the parcels on the east side of Whites Mill Pond are parcels owned by Winchendon Forest LLC of New Hampshire, which may be developed as portions of the large "solar campus" presented to town Boards last week (see "Town Boards Hear Initial Pitch for 1,400-Acre Solar Campus in East Winchendon" in the November 17-24 2020 edition of The Winchendon Courier).

The WSLA notes that old cart and logging roads criss-cross the hill on the lake's southern peninsula, serving as hiking trails. MassWildlife lands are open to fishing, hunting, trapping and wildlife watching, according to the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife.

Click image for larger view
map of proposed 1958 subdivision on Lake Monomonac
A portion of the 1958 subdivision that never materialized, still on the zoning map. The streets were never even rough-cut. The large area outlined in yellow on the right is one of the parcels in the proposed large solar campus project.
Town of Winchendon Assessor's Map
Click image for larger view
Winchendon Springs Wildlife Management area
Map showing parcels belonging to the current Winchendon Springs Wildlife Management Area. Jigsaw puzzle enthuasiasts may like to compare this map to the map of parcels proposed for the solar campus project in last week's Courier.

Be sure to check out our Classified and Employment Ads on the Events Page!

Senator Jo Comerford visits the CAC
State Senator Jo Comerford visited the Winchendon CAC on Monday, November 14 to meet with folks from Growing Places, HEAL Winchendon, the CAC and Heywood Hospital and hear about the Farm to School program, the Youth Changemakers, and many other exciting projects in the works.

Back, left to right: Lisa Damon, Youth Changemakers Camille Hart, Tiana Graessle and Angelina Dellasantos, Shaina Cunningham, Ayn Yeagle and Mary Giannetti.
Front, left to right: Molly Velasco, Senator Jo Comerford, Minna Scholten, Inanna Arthen. Taking the photo: Miranda Jennings.
Photo by Miranda Jennings

St Martins 2022 Holiday Fair

Subway June 2022 New Steak Teriyaki Sub

The Winchendon Subway will be closed starting Sunday, November 27 for remodeling. It will re-open on Monday, December 5. Call or check the website for updates!

The Transfer Station will be closed for the Thanksgiving Holiday on Friday, November 25. It will open for regular hours on Saturday, November 26.

Public Disclosure of Tax Valuation for FY2023

FY2023 Quinquennial Revaluation

The Winchendon Assessor has been conducting the FY 2023 Quinquennial Revaluation as required by Mass. State Law. This update of values ensures that all property is assessed at full and fair market value as of January 1, 2021. The Assessor has received preliminary certification by the Mass. Dept. of Revenue. Public Disclosure period will be available to the public from Wednesday 11/23/2022 to Thursday 12/1/2022.

The Assessor's Office is open from, 8am to 12noon Monday thru Thursday. Fridays via email or

The final, official results of Winchendon's Midterm Election on November 8, 2022 may be viewed at: State Election 11.8.2022 OFFICIAL RESULTS.

Central Mass Tree

Stone Ladeau Funeral Home

Click Here for Community Directory

Winchendon Businesses, Organizations, Services, and Government

Letter to the Editor


On Tuesday, November 22, various Boston news sources advised the public, Massachusetts hospitals, the Mass D.P.H, along with the U.S. C.D.C., have confirmed the existence and spreading of two new COVID-19 viral variants, which are descendants of the Omicron strains. They are now known to public health sources as "BQ.1 and BQ.1.1".

According to news source (Reuters), in just the last week leading up to November 19, these new variants which are quickly taking over Omicron as quickly as Omicron took over its predecessor, increased from 39.5% to nearly half of all new medically documented COVID-19 cases around the nation.

Public Health Officials according to news sources have also stated, believe the current round of vaccinations also offer the same protections to these new variants that they have to the current Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 Sub-variants that these newer strains have evolved from, in again, the newer BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 variants now documented by testing in hospitals around the country.

For recent links to read more about and learn more about these new viral variants, please click on the links below:

In closing this information was shared as soon as possible so all could be informed during Thanksgiving holiday weekend gatherings, so you could have the knowledge available if one did not already have it, especially if you are going to be near or around the "Elderly, or Immunocompromised". This is NOT to cause any alarm, only to keep the public simply informed. Please remember, the Town of Winchendon Board of Health, continues to offer for "Winchendon Residents Only" free I-Health Labs COVID-19 home antigen tests, in its BOH town office, during normal business hours of operation.

Keith Kent
Chair, Board of Health

Winchendon PD Offering R.A.D. Women's Self Defense Class

The Winchendon Police Department will be offering a RAD (rape aggression defense) class starting in November 2022. Free to all women.

No prior experience is needed as we will teach basic skills that can be applied by everyone.

Class size is limited to 20 so sign up early with a dispatcher at the Winchendon Police Department.

Wed. November 30
Thur. December 1
Wed. December 7
Thur. December 8

Time: 6:00-9:00 p.m.

Attendance to all four classes is required for successful completion. Age requirement is 14 years old accompanied by an adult/guardian with a signed permission slip.

The first class will be held at the Winchendon Police Department in the training room. The remaining classes will be held at the Memorial School in the gym.

Any questions can be directed to:
Officer Tracy Flagg
Officer Jim Wironen

Senior Center Seeking Food Donations

We've been so successful we need your help. We love helping our seniors, so now our Food Pantry is running low. If you can do it, we'd love your help replenishing it with such commodities as: Hormel 'Compleats' meals; Chef Boyardee ravioli, spaghetti & meatballs, etc; applesauce; canned vegetables; juice boxes; Ensure; spaghetti sauce; Cookies; Crackers; small (individual) packages of cereal, etc. And anything you think would help. Thank you very much! Bring donations to the Old Murdock Senior Center, 52 Murdock Ave., Winchendon.

Town Committee Vacancies
as of September 26, 2022

If you'd like to be an active participant in decision-making and management for your community, consider joining a town committee or board. There are a number of vacancies currently open.

Communications Committee - 1 vacancy
Community Preservation Act Exploratory Committee - 2 citizen vacancies
Cultural Council - 13 vacancies
Fence Viewer and Field Driver - 1 vacancy
Library Trustee - 1 vacancy
Master Plan Implementation Committee - 1 vacancy
Open Space Preservation Appraisal and Survey Revolving Fund Advisory Committee - 1 vacancy
Zoning Board of Appeals - 2 alternate member vacancies

If you'd like more information about any of these positions or are interested in being considered for an appointment, contact the Town Manager's office at 978-297-0085, or send a letter to Town Manager, 109 Front Street Dept. 1, Winchendon MA 01475.

Complete description of each committee's responsibilities, updated for May 10, 2021 (PDF).

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Enjoying the new Winchendon Courier Online? We're just getting started! But wow, is this a lot of work. The best work in the world, but still a lot of it! Please consider supporting us with a small donation. We'd so appreciate it. Thanks!

Finance Committee Vacancy

The Winchendon Finance Committee ("FinCom") consists of seven dedicated and hardworking individuals appointed by the Moderator to serve three-year terms. A vacancy has occurred, and it is the responsibility of the Moderator to fill this vacancy. This appointment to the Finance Committee will be in effect through May 2024.

The FinCom's primary responsibility is to make recommendations to Town Meeting on all of Winchendon's financial matters. The Committee regularly interacts with Town and school officials and various other committees on fiscal items, and holds public budget hearings in January and February of each year. At Town Meeting, the FinCom is required by law to present voters with a balanced non-override budget (one that does not exceed the levels of Proposition 2 1/2) and to make recommendations on all financial articles. If, in any year, the Select Board authorizes an override budget, the Committee will make a recommendation on that proposed budget. FinCom meetings are public and are usually held on the second Tuesday of the month.

Please send in a letter of interest to the Town Manager's Office- Mary Calandrella @

Young Adults Aged 20-26 Invited to Fill Out Recreation Interest Survey

The Winchendon Recreation and Community Park Committees are asking Winchendon persons between the ages of 20 and 26 to fill out their survey on what kinds of events they would like to see at the new amphitheater in the Winchendon Community Park. The survey is open to younger people aged 10-25, but more responses from the 20-26 year old group are needed. Click on this link to fill out the simple Google form and let the town know what you want at your park!

Recreation Youth Survey.

Winchendon Community Park Committee Has Vacant Seats to Fill

The Winchendon Community Park Committee is seeking volunteers to serve on the committee. Meetings are held on the first Monday of each month for about an hour. This committee merges the former Winchendon Community Park Infrastructure committee and Winchendon Community Park Program committee, and discusses everything from ongoing projects and maintenance to program ideas and upcoming events. Anyone interested in joining should email a letter of interest to Tiffany Newton at

The Winchendon Community Park is located on Ingleside Drive, off of Maple Street, and is the location of the Winchendon Community Park Performing Arts Amphitheater now under construction and due to open in June, 2023. The park includes walking trails, a soccer field and recreational opportunities, to which a Disc Golf course will be added soon, and is open to the public at no charge.

FY 23 Senior Tax Work-Off Applications Now Available!

Once again this year, we are pleased to announce the Senior Work-Off program was approved at our Annual Town Meeting. The Senior Work-Off Abatement Program is a program allowing the Town of Winchendon the opportunity to utilize the knowledge and skills of its senior residents in exchange for credit toward the resident's property tax bill. The purpose of this program is:

  • To employ qualified senior citizens who will apply their earnings toward payment of a portion of their property taxes;
  • To increase senior citizen involvement in local government; and
  • To enhance municipal service by using the skills of resident senior citizens.
Qualified and income-eligible residents will accrue the Commonwealth's minimum wage per hour ($13.50/hr) toward a maximum credit of $1,100.00 per household during the fiscal year. The criteria for this program is:
  • You must be 60 years old or older
  • Homeowner in Winchendon and occupy property
  • Annual income below $40,150 if single; or below $45,900 if married.
Applications for the program are now available in the Town Manager's office or on the town website, and will be accepted until the eight slots are filled. There are different types of positions that are available depending on the preference and qualifications of the resident and the needs of each department. Types of past and current positions have been: Custodial services, clerical help for both School & Town, library aides, Senior Center aides, cable station operator, Bike Path clean up, painting, light outdoor work and classroom volunteers. Click here for more information and a downloadable application.

Toy Town FYIs

Transfer Station Winter Hours

The Transfer Station has returned to its regular hours:
Thursday 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Friday 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Saturday 8:00 a.m. 4:00 p.m.

653 River Street
Sticker price: $70
Pay-As-You-Throw bags required

2022 Street Lists Available

The 2022 Town of Winchendon Street List of Residents is now available at the Town Clerk's office in Town Hall, 109 Front Street. Cost is $8.00 each, $5.00 for seniors.

2022 Dog Licenses Now Available

2022 dog licenses are now available. You may purchase at the Town Clerk's office using check or cash, or you may purchase through the mail, Town Hall drop box, or online through the Town Clerk's page. The licenses will be mailed to you. Please be sure to provide a valid rabies certificate. Spayed and neutered dogs are $10.00. Non-spayed and non-neutered dogs are $20.00.

Sign up for Code Red Emergency Alerts
Sign up for our emergency notification program today! Receive up-to-date information before, during and after an emergency in your neighborhood. You can choose to be notified via voice, text and email notifications of emergency and inclement weather alerts.

Is Your House Number Clearly Visible from the Street?
The Winchendon Fire Department reminds all residents to make sure their house number is clearly visible for first responders who may need to find you. Numbers should be at least four inches high and facing the street, with lighting if possible. Put numbers on a contrasting background so they will stand out. If your driveway is long, put the number on a mailbox or pole on the street or at the end of driveway, facing in both directions. (Reflective numbers are helpful.) Check your house numbers to make sure foliage has not grown up in front of them without your being aware of it.

Report a Pothole to the DPW

You can report potholes directly to the DPW using this form on the town website:

Winchendon Town Hall & Transfer Station Now Accepting Credit/Debit Payments

We are excited to announce that the DPW, Treasurer/Collector's Office and the Transfer Station can all now accept in-person credit and debit card payments. This means next time you need to purchase or pay for:

Trash bags
Transfer station stickers
Excise bills
Tax bills
Water & Sewer bills
And more

You can pay with a credit or debit card! (subject to a convenience fee).

If You Call for Emergency Services...

...the Winchendon Fire Department asks that you let the dispatcher know if you have flu-like symptoms, are quarantined or are under self-quarantine. This will allow the first responders to take all necessary precautions to avoiding spreading COVID-19 and to protect themselves and you.