Ice Rink Advocate Calls For Investigation Into Auburn Housing 'Cover-Up'

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Auburn town officials want to construct an ice skating rink at Pakachoag Village.
Auburn town officials want to construct an ice skating rink at Pakachoag Village. Photo Credit: Daniel Castro (file photo)

AUBURN, Mass. – Auburn resident Wayne Page, who is also the chairman of the Council on Aging, is contacting state legislators, seeking an investigation into the Auburn Housing Authority and calling for replacing the director after the board didn’t take a vote Wednesday on an ice skating rink at Pakachoag Village and for what he calls a “cover-up” by the Housing Authority.

The Housing Authority, which owns the land next to the elderly housing units, adjourned after a two-minute meeting in front of Auburn town officials and residents, telling the interested parties that the state told them not to vote on the issue -- which contradicts what a state official told The Daily Voice after the meeting.

Matthew Sheaff, director of communications for the state Department of Housing and Community Development, said that “no one from the state advised them to not take a vote.”

As a result, Page said he is contacting state Sen. Michael Moore, D-Millbury, and state Rep. Paul Frost, R-Auburn, for an investigation into the Housing Authority.

“I’m going to see if our representatives can help us out with this matter, and hopefully they can talk to the state and see if we can work it out, so we can have a skating rink for the residents,” Page said. “It’s to the point now that we have to go above the Housing Authority’s heads and work with our state representatives and talk to the state and federal government.

“They have the authority to vote on it, and they won’t do it,” Page added. “It’s time we look into replacing some of the committee members and look into replacing the director. It looked like the director was covering things up. The town’s trying to build a bridge with the residents, and the Housing Authority just shattered it.”

Last week, the Housing Authority members expressed concerns over giving approval for the project. They said that safety could be compromised for the elderly residents at a rink between the senior housing and Senior Center.

Members decided to take a week to think it over before voting on it, and they surveyed the residents of Pakachoag Village to see if they’d be OK with an ice skating rink adjacent to their homes. Lori Brennan, executive director of the Housing Authority, said that 20 residents did not want a skating rink, 11 wanted it built and four were indifferent.

On the other hand, Page said he had favorable results from a survey he took of senior citizens at the Senior Center. There were 59 yes votes, seven no votes and seven were indifferent.

“They were very excited about the skating rink,” said Cheryl Westerman, acting director of the Senior Center. “It was something different, and they were really looking forward to it.”

Brennan was sought for comment by telephone and in-person, but she was not in the office on Thursday. 

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Wayne ... it is well withing the Power of the BOS to engage General Council for an investigation... Ask your former boss....

Holy crap, with all of the bull pucky that goes on with town government this is what people want an "investigation" on? No wonder why Auburn is in constant litigation!

I would like to see what the seniors at the senior center would have said if you told them that it was going to be in THEIR backyard. These are the people who call the police if a kid accidentlt hits a ball into THEIR yard. I suspect they would be more like the seniors at Pakachoag and less supportive of the skating rink. Anyway, who dosen't like a good old "cover up" at Christmas time? Round up the seniors and investigate that Lori Brennan!

These are the same people who made us vote on a new school 20 times until there was a yes vote.
Now they won't take a vote. You know if it comes back yes, they will just keep voting until they get a no.

All the money that was just put into the new field's up on Packachoag, it's the perfect place for a outdoor skating rink.

Horgan won't be happy.

Like I said, this sounds like wrapping a community outreach issue into politics, probably as a means to avoid it or kill it dead. Good call for an investigation. Maybe it is time to replace these people.