The Winchendon Courier
Serving the community since 1878 ~ A By Light Unseen Media publication
Week of July 8 to July 15, 2021
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Town Hall Damage Assessment and Projected Repair Cost Continue to Climb

Town Hall Damage, June 2021
An old wooden railing is ready to fall apart from rot along the granite staircase facing Front Street and bordering the rear parking area entrance.
Photo by Keith Kent
Town Hall Damage, June 2021
Using his hand to show scale, Sultzbach demonstrates where he pulled 20 feet of vine out of the exterior brick wall which made its way well inside the interior wall and could have potentially reached electrical wiring.
Photo by Keith Kent
Town Hall Damage, June 2021
This rear door hatchway entrance facing Cumberland Farms is completely rotted allowing water from any rainstorm to flow directly into the building, causing continual damage.
Photo by Keith Kent

New Town Manager Justin Sultzbach says he made it a point, as one of his first duties, to examine the structure of the Town Hall. Since he started the news has not been good, with mounting necessary repairs, and discoveries showing damage at least a decade in the making, which he says with attention could have been prevented.

A close-up survey of the exterior of the Winchendon Town Hall reveals many findings just to the naked eye. Places where water can enter the building; railings nearly completely rotted and ready to break; granite window sill bases sinking; brick walls on all sides with little to no mortar holding them in place; emergency exits blocked by vine growth; vines which made their way inside brick walls reaching the inner walls; multiple rotted exterior wooden window frames, and much more, all documented by photos, show a pattern of little exterior maintenance, according to the Town Manager.

Sultzbach said, "This didn't happen overnight, this is years and years of neglect which wasn't addressed. Almost all of these problems we can just see with our eyes alone could have most likely been prevented if funds were marked for upkeep and repair over the years."

Sultzbach physically demonstrated how bad the building's current condition has become. Just using his fingers and a bare hand, he effortlessly pulled a brick right out of a section of wall which normally would require drilling to remove. Sultzbach said, "And again this is what we can see with just our eyes. I found vines growing up in through twenty feet of wall, what else could they have reached? I actually could hear it moving through the inside of the brick wall as I was pulling it down."

Town Hall Damage, June 2021
Preliminary masonry work is begun on a lower level exterior wall, near a window where the granite stone sill has sunk at least an inch and will need to be jacked up during future repair. Sunken sills were observed around the building in other locations.
Photo by Keith Kent
Town Hall Damage, June 2021
A second floor fire escape door on the rear of the Town Hall over the former police station is sealed shut by many years of vine growth, blocking the emergency exit if ever needed.
Photo by Keith Kent
Town Hall Damage, June 2021
Town Manager Justin Sultzbach physically removes a brick from a rear wall on the Town Hall building with ease using just a bare hand demonstrating just how badly the exterior of the Winchendon Town Hall has fallen behind in repairs.
Photo by Keith Kent

Limited preliminary masonry work has begun as Sultzbach, following approval by the Finance Committee at their June 28 meeting, was able to hire contractors to begin replacing missing or damaged mortar between the bricks on the Pleasant Street side of the building. The $17,500 to start this process and pay for a conditions Assessment was approved by a 4-0 FinCom vote releasing the funds from its Reserve Fund Account, leaving the account with a zero balance to end the fiscal year.

"The work they have started doing here with the masonry is to get us through this winter and the next few years, to buy the community time to have a discussion in terms of what their priorities are in terms of capital assets," Sultzbach explained. "A Conditions Assessment is going to get us an estimate of what it is going to cost to repair this building from top to bottom. It's not going to be cheap, and it's not something we can do overnight. So this preliminary work is going to help carry us over until the time comes that the town is ready to fix up the building.

"My goal at this point is to at least make sure we can get the building through the upcoming winter and prevent any more damage from occurring or worsening while we begin the process of finding out what all this work is going to cost, so we can present it to the voters and taxpayers of Winchendon, as ultimately it's up to them how much they want to spend. But make no doubt, these repairs are necessary."

Sultzbach added, "This is not going to be cheap. Again, this is years and years of neglect and a lack of proper upkeep. You don't have to take my word for it, the pictures show it all, and that's just what we can see. It took a long time to get to this level of needed work. I am just the messenger."

The rear of the Town Hall, which up until several years ago housed the Police Department, many years prior also served as the Fire Department. This section of the building, as Sultzbach pointed out, may be on the National Historic Register. Thick vegetation, such as vines with bark once thought to be beautifying on brick structures, have actually sealed off a long unused rear second floor emergency fire escape opening to a stairway, and have even forced open and grown in between parts of a small exterior metal hatchway door, also part of this section of the building.

On the side of the Town Hall facing Cumberland Farms, the long-term damage doesn't get much better. Rotted large window sills, large circular holes in the walls where twenty feet of vine was removed by Sultzbach, and rotted wooden hatchway framing allowing heavy rains to access the building add to the list.

From above, slate roofing is falling off in some places, allowing water damage in the roof to occur. Slate which had fallen off the side of the roof was readily viewable along the base of the building where Sultzbach pulled a brick right out of the wall. On the roof, the cupola also needs significant attention due to long-term weather damage and rot.

In closing Sultzbach explained, "The money to fix this building is not there. But we need to have a study done to highlight the problems. This is how we have to move forward to apply to try to get help from both the state and the federal level. But I will tell you this sitting there and doing nothing, isn't going to do anything for you. We must beginning addressing this problem so we can work to solve it."

Town Hall Damage, June 2021
This old metal access hatchway on the former police department side of the building has a thick vine growing through it even though it's bolted shut.
Photo by Keith Kent
Town Hall Damage, June 2021
This column of brickwork, one of many, shows how the mortar is nearly or completely missing allowing for expansion between the bricks to force them outward away from the wall.
Photo by Keith Kent
Town Hall Damage, June 2021
This second floor window sill is not only rotted like others around the Town Hall, but has actually expanded and separated over an inch outward from the lower window frame and the building.
Photo by Keith Kent

Town Hall Damage, June 2021
Sections of the front entrance granite staircase are separating and daylight can be seen shining between the individual steps.
Photo by Keith Kent
Town Hall Damage, June 2021
Throughout many locations around the building, holes can be found where bugs and insects which are nesting in the brick walls were visible flying in and out of the Town Hall.
Photo by Keith Kent

Bull Spit Brewing Prepares to Launch Popup Bull Yard on Central Street

Bull Spit Brewing Company, a subsidiary of Kalon Farm, is working hard on preparations for the launch of the open-air Popup Bull Yard at 270 Central Street on Friday, July 9, in optimistic defiance of what is already, after only eight days, the wettest Massachusetts July on record even before the arrival of Tropical Storm Elsa on Friday.

Set up on a broad paved lot owned by Tighe Mathieu of Mathieu Ford Sales, The Bull Yard is bounded by tall metal fencing that invokes the feel of a rodeo yard. Round and rectangular picnic tables fill the space, and a large flatbed trailer will serve as the stage for musical acts.

Rebecca Higgins from Bull Spit Brewing told the Courier that the tables will have umbrellas to shade guests from the summer sun. All servers will be trained in taking proper IDs from customers ordering alcoholic beverages. The events will be "family-friendly" and all ages are welcome in the space to enjoy the music and socializing, Ms. Higgins said. Two porta-potties are available for the use of guests.

Non-alcoholic beverages and slushies will also be served. Bull Spit is coordinating with Gabby's Pizza, Not Just Produced and potentially other Winchendon businesses who will provide take-out menus for Bull Yard guests to order food and bring it to the Bull Yard to enjoy with their beverages.

Bull Spit was approved for individual liquor licenses for each day that the Yard is open at the Board of Selectmen's meeting on Monday, June 28. At that meeting, Bull Spit's Jim Hunt said, "Our goal is to try to get everyone onto Central Street. We're just kind of working in that immediate area to begin with."

The Popup Bull Yard will be open for guests on Fridays from noon until 8:00 p.m., Saturdays from noon until 8:00 p.m. and Sundays from noon until 6:00 p.m. Musical performances will take place from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday.

Mr. Hunt told the Board of Selectmen, "We agreed with the town to do just acoustic only on Sundays, keep it nice and mellow and relaxing...we're not in the business of putting on big concerts, even when we have the 4 Summer Drive, because we want to create an atmosphere. So we want people to come and be able to talk, and enjoy their company, and the music's just kind of there."

Scheduled musical performers will be listed in the Courier and on Bull Spit Brewing Company's Facebook and Instagram pages. Their opening weekend lineup features Ian Wilkins on Friday, Winchendon's own The BIG RanDom on Saturday and Lexi Jordan on Sunday. Ms. Higgins told the Courier that musicians are booked through July.

Kalon Farm purchased the properties at 4 Summer Drive and 15 Summer Drive, by Whitney Pond, last year. Their plans include an on-site brewing facility and a taproom, with an outside serving area overlooking the pond. Restoration of the building is proceeding slowly; Ms. Higgins told the Courier that "we're working with the town," and don't expect to open at 4 Summer Drive before this winter. (See, "Bull Spit Brewing Company To Develop Property at 4 Summer Drive" in the December 17-24, 2020 edition of The Winchendon Courier.)

Mr. Hunt requested liquor licenses to cover weekends through the end of August, saying that they'll return to the Board at that time for additional licenses for September and October.

"We're excited to come to town," Mr. Hunt told the Board of Selectmen.

Bull Yard set-up
Bull Yard set-up

It's a "Bull Market" in Winchendon as Toy Town welcomes another new business!
Photos by Inanna Arthen

Fourth of July around New England
Fourth of July around New England
Fourth of July around New England

Celebrating the July 4th holiday weekend with the 245th Birthday of the United States and its Declaration of Independence, Patriotic displays could be seen both locally and all over New England. Top: an old decorated farm tractor along the Murdock Dairy Bar parking lot where children love to take turns sitting. Middle and bottom: in the New England tradition of Americana displays are two patriotic scarecrows along roadside properties of Sugar Hill Road, in the center of Sugar Hill, NH in the majestic and picturesque Franconia Notch area of the northern New Hampshire White Mountains.
Photos by Keith Kent

Subway April 2021 Steak Sub Ad

St. Martins Fair Ad

Summer Programs at the Beals Memorial Library

Are you looking for something fun to do in the upcoming week? Then head over to the Beals Memorial Library for a few fun storytime programs for kids, teens, and adults!

On Tuesday, July 13th from 10 AM - 12 PM, the library will be hosting the second Tails and Tales Storywalk event of the month, in partnership with the Winchendon Coordinated Family and Community Engagement Program. Follow the path outside of the library from one poster board to the next, enjoying and interacting with each childrens' story. The July 13th story will be "Pete the Cat & The Bad Banana" by James Dean, and each child who attends will receive a free book while supplies last. This event is fully open, so registration is not required.

On Thursday, July 15th, at 6 PM, teens and adults are invited to take part in an hour-long story sharing event, "Share Your Tale of a Tail". Each participant will get 5 minutes to share a story about an animal, whether it's a pet story or a woodland wildlife encounter. Bring your own lawn chair for some outdoor comfort. Space for this event is limited, so registration is required.

All summer programs at the Beals Memorial Library will be hosted outdoors on the library lawn. Masks are not required, but participants are asked to practice social distancing while attending.

The Beals Memorial Library is located at 50 Pleasant Street in Winchendon. For more information or to sign up for a program, contact the library at 978-297-0300 or email at

Stone Ladeau Funeral Home

Central Mass Tree

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Winchendon Businesses, Organizations, Services, and Government

5th Annual Fall Festival to be held October 9, 2021

We are excited to announce that the 5th Annual Fall Festival will be held on Saturday, October 9, 2021! This will be the fifth year that the Winchendon Fall Festival has been located on Central Street. At past year's festivals, there have been over 200 crafters, vendors, and businesses set up along Central Street with over 8,000+ in attendance. Many craft vendors will be selling their handmade items. Not all vendors accept credit cards so it is best to bring cash to pay for your purchases, although there are some ATM machines along the festival route. There will be many children's activities including bouncy houses, pumpkin painting and face painting to name a few. There will be a variety of food available, a beer tent and local bands! We pride ourselves on this fun family event!

Winchendon Fall Festival will be taking place in the heart of Winchendon on Central Street from Front Street to Maple Street. If you are using a GPS mapping service, please keep in mind that there may be some road closures and detours in the immediate area of the festival; please use Central Street and Front Street for your destination.

Vendors interested in registering may find the application here (PDF).

For further information contact Nicole Roberts at 978-297-3537 or

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Applications Available for Senior Tax Work-off Program

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 aids, cable station operator, Bike Path clean up, painting, light outdoor work and classroom volunteers. Click here for more information and a downloadable application.

STILL Seeking Volunteers to Serve on Master Plan Implementation Committee (MPIC)

At their February 22, 2021 meeting, the Board of Selectmen unanimously voted to adopt the Master Plan presented to them, and to establish a Master Plan Implementation Committee (MPIC) for the purpose of overseeing the execution of the Master Plan as outlined.

The Winchendon Master Plan describes the will of the people of Winchendon. All town boards, commissions, committees, staff and citizens should use this Plan to guide their work in creating the future everyone seeks. The Master Plan Implementation Committee (MPIC) is charged with overseeing its execution and will work with the Town Manager and Responsible Leads. Members of the MPIC have a demonstrated interest in and knowledge of the Master Plan, are a Winchendon resident or have vested interest in the community, are a demonstrated team player, are reliable and have at least one of these qualifications:

  • Project management
  • Communications
  • Town history
  • Knowledge of "how things work"
MPIC specific responsibilities include:
  • Coordinate and monitor implementation
  • Collaborate with players to develop and track execution goals
  • Assist with goals that require additional resources
  • Encourage ongoing citizen engagement
  • Assess status of specific actions, evaluate priorities, and suggest new implementation techniques where appropriate
  • Identify successful strategies and barriers to progress
  • Periodically evaluate the plan
  • Create a mechanism to provide updates and progress reports to the Board of Selectmen
To see the full Master Plan, click here.

The Board of Selectmen is currently accepting letters of interest to serve on this committee. If you are interested, please send your letter of interest to the Town Manager's Office, 109 Front Street, Winchendon MA 01475 or to Taylor at

Greater Gardner Chamber of Commerce Seeks Information on Available Commercial Properties in the Region

Carol Jacobson, President and CEO of the Greater Gardner Chamber of Commerce has announced that the Chamber is compiling a list of available commercial and industrial properties in the region. This list will be included in a data base that will be made available to the public in an effort to help market the region and facilitate economic development initiatives.

Tracy Murphy, Director of Planning & Development is currently compiling a list of available properties in Winchendon. Property can be existing structures or buildable land but must be zoned for commercial or industrial use(s). If you own or know of properties that are available for purchase or lease please send an email that includes details and photos, if available, and pertinent facts about the property that you wish to be included such as price, lease terms, contact info, etc. to: Feel free to reach out to the Planning & Development Department if you have any questions at: 1-978-297-3537.

Town Committee Vacancies
as of June 24, 2021

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
Cultural Council - 7 vacancies
Fence Viewer and Field Driver - 1 vacancy
Historical Commission/Historic District - 1 Alternate vacancy
Master Plan Implementation Committee - 7 vacancies
Open Space Preservation Appraisal and Survey Revolving Fund Advisory Committee - 1 vacancy
Recreation Commission - 1 student vacancy
Toy Town Community Partnership - 4 vacancies
Zoning Board of Appeals - 2 Alternate 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).

Council on Aging Now Hiring Part Time Position

The Council on Aging is seeking a part time employee, 18 hours a week from Monday through Friday. The ideal candidate would:

  • Be able to lift 50 pounds
  • Be able to load/unload food
  • Have an excellent driving record
  • Enjoy working with elders
  • Maintain vehicle inside and out (referring to the Director when repairs are needed)
  • Keep vehicle fueled
  • Be able to maintain accurate records
  • Other duties as required
For more information, please call the Council on Aging at 978-297-3155. Application deadline is June 29, 2021.

The Town of Winchendon is an equal opportunity employer.

Water Use Restrictions Begin May 1

Water use restrictions for users of Winchendon town water will be effective as of Saturday, May 1, 2021 and will remain in effect until October 1.

Outdoor water use is permitted for odd-numbered addresses on odd-numbered days, and for even-numbered addresses on even-numbered days. Watering is permitted only overnight, from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 a.m., to minimize water loss from evaporation.

Call the Department of Public Works at 978-297-0170 if you have any questions.

According to the National Weather Service, the Monadnock region is currently experiencing "moderate drought" with below normal amounts of spring rainfall.

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.

Toy Town FYIs

The 2021 Town Street List is now available at Town Hall and on the town website. You can download a PDF copy at You may purchase the hard copy of the book for $8.00 or $5.00 for seniors. Please call Town Clerk's office at 978-297-2766 to arrange pick up/payment.

The 2020 Annual Town Report is now available at Town Hall and on the town website. You can download a PDF copy at 2020 Town Report PDF. Hard copies are available, free of charge, and can be picked up at the Town Manager's Office during regular business hours (Monday 8:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. and Tuesday through Thursday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.). To request a copy, call the Town Manager's Office at 978-297-0085, extension 5, or email

2021 Dog Licenses are now overdue. All dogs were required to be licensed by March 31. You may purchase a license through the mail, 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 & Neutered dogs are $10 and Non-Spayed & Non-Neutered dogs are $20.

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.

Please Do Not Flush Sanitizing Wipes Down the Toilet
Wipes Clog Pipes!

The Department of Public Works is asking all users of the public sewer system to please be careful not to flush santizing wipes down the toilet. These wipes collect in the pumps and destroy them, causing the Town to be forced to replace two pumps just in the last month alone. If a pump at the wastewater treatment plant were to burn out from wipe accumulation, it would cost the Town $30,000 to replace it. Please throw these wipes into your rubbish instead.

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.

Organic Farm Opens CSA Shares for 2021

Many Hands Organic Farm will be hosting its largest organic community supported farmshare yet, with a goal of 200 shares! MHOF focuses on maximum fertility through soil carbon-sequestering techniques that grow the tastiest and most nutrient-dense vegetables. The summer fruit and vegetable CSA starts on May 24 and runs through October 22. Become involved in the local food movement by signing up for a share at

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