HomeGovernment51 Main St., Indigenous Peoples' Day among approved town election ballot questions

51 Main St., Indigenous Peoples’ Day among approved town election ballot questions


Subscribe to our mailing list and consider following WestfordCAT on Facebook, YouTube and Instagram for daily updates from Westford's hometown source for news. 

WESTFORD — The Select Board approved ballot language for the May 2 Town Election.

Voters will decide whether or not to authorize a debt exclusion for the new town center building, to authorize a debt exclusion for the Blanchard Middle School roof replacement project and whether or not to recognize Indigenous Peoples Day instead of Columbus Day.

Question 1: Authorize a debt exclusion for 51 Main St. 

Shall the Town of Westford be allowed to exempt from the provisions of Proposition 2‐1/2, so‐called, the amounts required to pay for the bonds issued for the construction of a new municipal building located at 51 Main Street, including demolition of the existing building, constructing, furnishing and equipping a new building, rerouting and extending fiber optic cables and equipment to 30 Patten Road and 39 Town Farm Road, and securing the current technology offices at 1 East Prescott Street, and all other costs incidental and related thereto?

The board voted unanimously to approve the proposed ballot language. 


A proposed town center building is returning for consideration at Town Meeting after being dismissed by voters in October on procedural grounds.

The proposed expansion would replace the existing town center fire station at 51 Main St., which was decommissioned after it was replaced with a new station on Boston Road.

The proposal was unanimously recommended by the Select Board and recommended in a 5-3 vote by the Finance Committee. The project is slated to cost $12,400,000, up from a $12,100,000 estimation in October.

If the project fails to secure approval by a two-thirds majority during Town Meeting but passes during the May 2 election, the Select Board would call for a Special Town Meeting to reconsider the project.

The ballot question would authorize a debt exclusion for the project.

Want to learn more about the project? Check out WestfordCAT’s coverage with town officials, produced by Nick Woodbury.

The opinions in these videos do not necessarily reflect the opinion of WestfordCAT, its employees, its members or its donors. 

Question 2: Authorize a debt exclusion for the Blanchard Middle School roof replacement

Shall the Town of Westford be allowed to exempt from the provisions of proposition two and one‐half, so‐called, the amounts required to pay for the bonds to be issued in order to pay the costs of replacing the roof at the Lloyd G. Blanchard Middle School, 14 West Street, Westford, MA 01886?

The board voted unanimously to approve the proposed ballot language. 


Residents will vote whether or not to approve funding to pay for a roof replacement at Blanchard Middle School during a March 25 Town Meeting. The Town Meeting article would appropriate $6.4 million to replace the roof. The ballot question would approve a debt exclusion for the project.

The town may be eligible for a need-based grant from the Massachusetts School Building Authority, which may cover up to 48.05% of the project.

Historically, Westford has received between 44.5% and 45.98% from the MSBA for repairs to Abbot Elementary, Day Elementary and the Col. John Robinson School.

Question 3: Indigenous Peoples’ Day 

Shall the Westford Select Board declare the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples Day, superseding local references to Columbus Day, and recommend that it be observed by the people of Westford, with appropriate exercises in the schools and otherwise, to acknowledge the history of genocide and discrimination against Indigenous peoples, and to recognize and celebrate the thriving cultures and continued resistance and resilience of Indigenous peoples and their tribal nations?

The board voted unanimously to approve the proposed ballot language. This question is a non-binding resolution. 


The question was originally proposed during an Oct. 18 Special Town Meeting in 2020. Voters rejected a Citizen’s Petition 111 to 108 to rename the holiday, but referred the resolution to the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee for further consideration.

On Aug. 2, 2022, the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion hosted a virtual listening session where residents voiced concerns over renaming the holiday. A survey was also conducted earlier that year, where approximately 64% of the 782 respondents opposed renaming the holiday.

Opponents cited historic discrimination against Italian-Americans and cancel culture as reasons to oppose the measure.

“Cancel culture has over-reached in its quest to generalize our culture and history. Denying its existing does nothing to create cooperation among ethnic groups and cultures,” wrote Westford resident Dan Daddieco in an Aug. 23 email to the Select Board. “It achieves the exact opposite.”

Proponents of the change noted loss from genocide and forced assimilation of indigenous peoples as reason to support the change.

“A lot of Indigenous people choose not to participate in conversations about Columbus Day. Its not because we don’t feel strongly one way or the other, its because it’s salt in the wound to listen to people perpetuate untruths and demonize the ancestors bolster the argument in order to support Columbus Day after losing so much to genocide,” wrote Nulhegan Abenaki Citizen and Westford resident Jill Cressy-Gross in an Aug. 23 email to the Select Board.

A number of residents gathered on Westford Common on Columbus Day last year to honor the town’s first Columbus Day Celebration.

Anthony DiLeo, an organizer of the event, described the event as a celebration of the holiday and of Christopher Columbus’ voyage in 1492.

“The intent is to provide a historical perspective, highlighting both the positives and negatives of Christopher Columbus’ travel to the Americas,” DiLeo told WestfordCAT in October.

The event saw speakers from the Knights of Columbus, the Italian-American Alliance and the Sons and Daughters of Italy.

The flag flown during Columbus’ voyage was also temporarily raised on the town common.

Support WestfordCAT News

Local journalism is vital to our communities. As other publications shift focus toward regional journalism, WestfordCAT continues to provide high-quality hyperlocal reporting to our town, free for everyone to read. So  we have a small favor to ask. Every contribution, no matter how big or small, helps us sustain our journalism and keep our community informed. Please consider supporting WestfordCAT by donating online.

Ben Domaingue
Ben Domainguehttps://www.clippings.me/bendomaingue
Ben Domaingue has previously worked at newspapers in New Hampshire and is the Managing Editor covering Westford. He’s passionate about community journalism, photography and hiking. Email him at bdomaingue@westfordcat.org.

Upcoming Events