Winchester Town Manager Discusses New Role
Dec 05, 2018 11:20PM
● By Dan Marra
WINCHESTER – A community is only as strong as its infrastructure. That's one of the reasons Lisa Wong has visited most of the boilers in Winchester. Starting her municipal career working in the Fitchburg redevelopment authority, the new Winchester Town Manager understands the importance of getting to know the nuts and bolts of the town.
A month into her Town Manager job, Wong said she’s working on feeling out this role like an orchestra conductor.
“There are incredibly talented people in town and I’m just trying to put all their talents together,” Wong said.
Wong said she sees a lot of possibility to help grow Winchester, while ensuring the residents maintain the quality of life they’re accustomed too. One such area Wong sees as a growth opportunity for the town is the waterways and downtown area.
“The waterways in Winchester could be a great economic generator,” she said.
Specifically, Wong said that there could be an opportunity for retail or residential development along the waterways. But for Wong, it would be nothing permanent, more like pop-up events that had a retail component.
While she admits she’s still learning about all the issues the community cares about, she is excited about the Tri-Community Greenway that was recently completed, as one of her interests is to create a more walkable community, saying that quality of life can be improved by connecting more people together.
But the biggest issue facing the community in the immediate future is a potential override vote in the spring election. Calling herself a “fiscal conservative”, Wong is focused on getting the “biggest bang for your buck” when looking at projects.
One such area the new Town Manager is looking to potentially revamp is municipal services.
“We need to look at servicing people where they’re at,” Wong said. “There can’t be a blank check mentality. We have to be mindful where we spend our money on and that it provides quality services to the community.”
Wong is looking at potentially offering more services online and making the town’s website more mobile friendly – having members request services online or creating more automated systems.
But when it comes to the town’s finances, Wong said that it’s important to ensure that the community feels as though the override discussion is an open and transparent process.
“It’s important to instill a trust in spending,” she said. “There’s precious public money that needs to be spent and it needs to be spent wisely, while still making important investments for the future.”