Bridgewater has a new first selectman.

Curtis Read was sworn into office Nov. 19, taking over from Bill Stuart, who served 31 years as the town's chief executive.

Read comes to office with a definite "to do list" in mind.

"There's a lot of things that have crept up on us over time," said Read, who previously served a four-year term as selectman.

"The senior center needs to be improved. There are problems with the layout that need to be remedied," Read said.

"We need to complete the renovation of the Hut Hill Road police barn office, as it is near our senior center, our official emergency shelter," he added. "There's a lot we need to do."

Seeking grants to fund the upcoming projects is central to Read's plans.

He would like to see a commission on aging created and perhaps a senior housing trust. He also envisions four to six units of senior housing eventually being built on the grounds at the senior center.

Keeping Burnham School open is essential, he said, acknowledging the Region 12 "consolidation issue will be difficult to resolve" among Washington, Roxbury and Bridgewater.

There is some housekeeping on Read's list as well.

Initially he will attend all town board and commission meetings to know the current issues under their respective jurisdiction.

Read foresees upgraded training for these volunteers "to minimize potential legal issues."

Current arrangements for contracted town services will be reviewed, he said, and competitive bidding could soon be added to bring savings to the town.

On the issues of government transparency and cooperation, Read noted, "We must strive to change a culture of mistrust and animosity that has recently affected Bridgewater's reputation. We will be open and respectful to various points of view."

Bill Stuart left the first selectman's seat with full confidence in Read.

"It's a good thing to have the right person in the right position," Stuart said. "Bridgewater's in great hands."

"Now that Curtis is elected, I will feel comfortable and welcomed back in town hall," he said. "After 31 years, that means a lot."

stuz@newstimes.com; 860-355-7322