Public Meeting: Future of 715 Main Street

715 Main Street, front view

715 Main Street, front view

 

blogIconsThe Bolton Conservation Trust (BCT) is hosting a public meeting to solicit input regarding the future of the large white residential building, known as 715 Main Street, located on the BCT property on Main Street at the intersection with Wattaquadock Hill Road. The meeting will be held on Wednesday, July 16, 2014 at 7:00 PM at the Houghton Building, 697 Main Street (Lois Alex Meeting Room).

715 Main Street, rear view

715 Main Street, rear view

Originally slated to be demolished along with the garage and smaller white house to the west, the building at 715 Main is now under a demolition delay issued by the Bolton Historical Commission, effective until October, 2014. The goal of Wednesday’s meeting is to explore “practical, timely, and financially viable” alternatives to demolition, according to the BCT.

More from the BCT release:

As part of its mission to care for Bolton’s natural resources and preserve its character, the Bolton Conservation Trust bought the abandoned Smith garage and the neighboring buildings including 715 Main Street in 2012.  The Trust, with subcontracted Massachusetts Licensed Site Professionals, has determined how to clean up the site and has started gathering ideas on how to bring new life to the eight acres of land in the heart of Bolton.  The goal is to repurpose the site as a Town Common to benefit residents of all ages.
As one initial step to shape the Common, we invite Bolton residents to attend a public meeting to discuss the future of the building at 715 Main Street which is the subject of a Bolton Historic Commission demolition delay that expires in October 2014.  The Trust seeks input and proposals for alternative dispositions as some residents have recently expressed interest in retaining some or all historic elements of the structure.  We would like to hear your views.
At the end of the summer, the Trust will invite all residents to participate in a broader survey to canvass ideas to shape the Town Common. The survey will be followed by public design workshops in the fall.

Neighborhood and town residents interested in the future of the building and the overall site are urged to attend. 

—Roland

Photo showing Smith garage, houses and frontage along Main Street. 715 Main is the white building to the left in this photo.

Photo showing Smith garage, houses and frontage along Main Street. 715 Main is the white building to the left in this photo.

 

 

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Smith Property Hearing and Forum

The Smith property frontage includes two houses and a garage in the center of town.

The Smith property frontage includes two houses and a garage in the center of town.

blogIconsThe Bolton Historical Commission is hosting two events in April relating to a demolition permit application from the Bolton Conversation Trust seeking approval to remove all the structures from the Trust-owned parcels known as the Smith property in the center of town (715-723 Main Street). The demolitions are part of the cleanup and redevelopment plans for the property, a contaminated brownfield site, and would occur concurrent with environmental cleanup activities. The structures include the former garage and two houses (one on either side of the garage). The Conservation Trust has recently unveiled a plan to redevelop the property into a town common and park, to serve as the centerpiece of a town center revitalization.

715 Main Street.

715 Main Street.

The Historical Commission has deemed one of the houses, 715 Main Street, pictured at right, to be historically significant, a status that could trigger a demolition delay on that portion of the property. The hearing and forum are intended to explore the historical issues as well as possible alternatives to demolition. The Conservation Trust has similarly explored multiple possibilities for the building during the two years of its ownership and planning for redevelopment. After a long and thorough examination, the Trust has concluded that demolition is the most viable step toward achieving its larger goal of revitalization, preservation and public use of the property.

The public hearing to consider the demolition permit application for 715 Main Street, submitted by the Bolton Conservation Trust, will be held on Friday, April 4, 2014 at 7:00 p.m. at the Town Hall, 663 Main Street.

The public forum to discuss the proposed demolition and the broader vision of the town center project will be held on Wednesday, April 16, 2014, at 7:00 p.m. at the Bolton Public Library.

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Slots Casino License Goes To Plainville

In a dramatic split vote, the Mass Gaming Commission this afternoon decided 3-2 to provisionally award the single available slots casino license offered up by the state to the Plainville/Penn National proposal over the Leominster/Cordish proposal.  A third proposal under consideration, Raynham, received no votes.

The Commission had earlier conferred surrounding community status to Bolton, citing the “significant and adverse traffic impact” to the town if the Leominster casino were to be approved. As a result, the town was able to negotiate an impact agreement with the casino developer that would have provided some monetary and services compensation in recognition of the expected traffic and public safety impact. Conservative estimates suggested that a Leominster casino would have added more than 500,000 vehicle trips annually through town on a road already in failure mode during peak commuter hours.

In our opinion it is very good news that the casino will be located in Plainville and not Leominster.

–Roland

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Casino Hearing Rescheduled

blogIconsUpdate on the slots casino hearing: Due to weather, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission has rescheduled the hearing originally scheduled for this Thursday at 5:30 p.m. (see previous post). It will now be held Tuesday, January 28, at 5:30 p.m. at the Leominster City Hall. 

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Last chance to weigh in!

screen 2The Massachusetts Gaming Commission is hosting its last public hearing on the proposed Leominster casino this Thursday, January 23, starting at 5:30 p.m. at the Leominster City Hall. Click here for the official notice. The hearing is intended to solicit reaction and comment regarding the recently negotiated Surrounding Community Impact Agreements the developer has signed with Bolton and Fitchburg.  The Commission in November had granted Bolton the status of Surrounding Community, saying that the casino would in its opinion have a “significant and adverse traffic impact” on the town.

Click here to review the full agreement negotiated between Bolton and the casino developer.

mass screenIt appears that this will be the last opportunity for any public input regarding the proposed $200 million casino, to be located just off Route 117 near the intersection of Route 190 in Leominster. The Commission expects to decide by March which of three proposals —Leominster, Plainville, or Raynham—will receive the single slots casino license available in Massachusetts.

In our opinion, the Selectmen and Town Administrator did a very commendable job on the town’s behalf in negotiating favorable terms for the impact agreement. However, no amount of money or studies will compensate the town or its residents for the negative impacts to quality of life we will suffer if this casino is built in Leominster. It is also our opinion that the more voices of concern the Gaming Commissioners hear about this casino, the greater is the possibility that the license will awarded to one of the other communities. Last chance to weigh in!

—Roland

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The Ice Is Nice

A little pickup hockey at Pond Park today.IMG_9140

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Watch the Mass Gaming hearing live…

Watch live right now.

http://massgaming.com/news-events/live-stream-and-video/

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Sound off on the Leominster casino proposal

Casino Facade 2Have something to say about the Leominster casino proposal? The Mass Gaming Commission is inviting public input in an open hearing to take place in Leominster tomorrow, Tuesday, December 3, from 4 p.m.-6 p.m. (longer if necessary) in Leominster’s City Hall. See full hearing notice here. This may be one of the last opportunities available to let the Gaming Commission know how you feel about having a casino potentially located just off Route 117 at the junction of 190 in Leominster. The Commission will soon be deciding which of three slot casino proposals will be awarded a single available license. The decision is expected within the next few weeks. The Leominster slots casino proposal is competing against proposals for casinos located in Plainville and Raynham for the license. Local support—or lack thereof—will play a role in the Commission’s decision.

Bolton recently rejected an “our offer or nothing” impact agreement put on the table by the Leominster casino developer, and instead sought a “surrounding community” designation directly from the Gaming Commission in order to strengthen its position in working a more favorable deal. Last week the Gaming Commission ruled in favor of Bolton’s petition (despite developer opposition), citing the “significant and adverse affect” of casino related traffic on Route 117. The Commission’s traffic consultant indicated that it was possible that “20% or more” of the casino traffic would use Route 117 in Bolton. The result (if the percentage of casino traffic using Route 117 is only 20%) would be potentially 500,000 additional vehicle trips  through town annually. The Board of Selectmen has 30 days to negotiate an impact agreement with the potential casino developer or face arbitration.

—Roland

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Three Big Events on Sunday, December 1

ViolinTHREE EVENTS ON DECEMBER 1 WELCOME THE HOLIDAYS AND CONCLUDE BOLTON’s 275th CELEBRATION! DON’T MISS THEM! 

11th Annual Wreath Festival: Noon until 5 p.m., Bolton Historical Society, 676 Main Street. Enjoy and bid on gorgeously decorated wreaths by Bolton artists and organizations. The Brownies will sing festive carols at 2:30 p.m.
Historic House Tours: 1-4 p.m. Fourteen of Bolton’s most historic homes, some never open to the public before, welcome you for a free, self-guided holiday house tour. Pick up maps and register at the Historical Society, 676 Main Street.
Gala Tree-Lighting and Santa Visit: 5 p.m , on the old town common outside Davis Hall at First Parish, 673 Main Street. A brass quartet and vocal soloists provide holiday music to set the mood before the hundreds of lights on the “Freedom Tree” are illumined. Then Santa arrives and will visit with children in Davis Hall while refreshments are served.
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Significant and Adverse Impact

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission on Thursday approved Bolton’s petition to be designated a “surrounding community” in relation to the Cordish Company proposed slots casino to be located just off Route 117 in Leominster. It is an acknowledgement that the casino, if built, will likely have a significant impact on traffic in town, and it gives Bolton a strengthened hand in negotiating an impact agreement with the casino developer.Screen shot 2013-11-22 at 1.12.44 PM

The Commission’s traffic consultant noted “that it is conceivable that Route 117 in Bolton could provide access for 20% or more of the casino related trips.” That math works out to well over 500,000 additional vehicle trips passing through town annually. And the town’s petition argued that the real number could be even higher.

The consultant concluded: “As a result of the level of casino related traffic estimated to pass through the Town of Bolton while traveling to the casino site, based on the information that has been reviewed and evaluated, and based on the above factors considered in this surrounding community evaluation, it is our opinion that there would be a significant and adverse traffic impact.

Next steps: the town and the developer now have 30 days to negotiate an impact agreement or come to a deal through arbitration.

Below is the full 75 page report from the Mass Gaming Commission, if you’d like to see all the detail.

—Roland

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