The Wellington branch of the Palm Beach County Library System recently re-opened after a major renovation project, and the much-improved building now includes two rooms named in honor of longtime Wellington community leaders.
At the Palm Beach County Commission meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 7, Commissioner Melissa McKinlay made motions to rename the conference room and children’s activities room in the building.
Carried unanimously, the motions named the conference room at the library the “Mayor Tom and Regis Wenham Conference Room,” and the children’s meeting room the “Mayor Kathy Foster Children’s Activities Room.”
The Wenhams and Foster were at the library’s rededication ceremony on Saturday, Dec. 18, where the new names were unveiled.
In November 2021, staff was given direction to provide a plan to name a room at the Wellington branch after Tom and Regis Wenham.
Tom Wenham served as a U.S. Air Force flight engineer with the 8th Bomb Squadron during the Korean War. In 1994, he was elected to the Acme Improvement District Board of Supervisors, Wellington’s pre-incorporation government. In 1996, he was elected to a council seat in the newly incorporated Village of Wellington. He was appointed mayor in 2000, and after the charter was changed to allow voters to directly elect the mayor, Wenham was elected mayor in 2003 and served in that post until 2008. Since then, he has remained active in the community, and currently serves on the village’s Architectural Review Board and as chair of the Wellington Community Foundation.
Regis Wenham also has a long history of community service, particularly when it comes to the Palm Beach County Library System. In October 1999, she was appointed to the Library Advisory Board, and has been continually reappointed to the board for the past 22 years. She served as chair of the Library Advisory Board in 2007-08.
Regis Wenham said she and her husband never expected to have a room at the library named after them. “It took me aback, it really did,” she told the Town-Crier. “It was one big surprise.”
The Palm Beach County Commission also decided to honor Foster for her many years of community service.
Foster was the first woman elected to a seat on the Acme Improvement District board in 1990. It was the first popular election in the community’s history. From 1992 to 1994, she served as president of the Acme board. In 1996, Foster was elected to the inaugural Wellington Village Council and was chosen by the council to serve as the village’s first mayor.
Foster is an interior designer with a degree from Brooklyn College in textiles and designs. She is a longtime member of St. Rita Catholic Church and ran two nonprofits after leaving office, the Adam Walsh Children’s Fund and Junior Achievement of the Palm Beaches. Foster is also the founder of Wellington Cares, a nonprofit that provides services for senior citizens in the community.
The Wellington branch library re-opened on Tuesday, Nov. 9 after closing in December 2020 for $4.2 million in renovations that included air conditioning and lighting upgrades, new flooring and added amenities. Originally built in 1997, the building was last remodeled with a major expansion in 2007.
Located at 1951 Royal Fern Drive, the Wellington branch is one of 17 locations of the Palm Beach County Library System and is expected to serve some 141,000 residents and school students in the area over the next decade. For more info., visit www.pbclibrary.org/locations/wellington.