GROTON -- With a smile as bright as the shovel he would use break ground in Four Corners, Jay Ash was a happy man.
"Hey, this is awesome," was the first thing the secretary of the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development said to the group of town officials.
"I'm really happy to partner with you all," he said.
Installing a sewer line to the underused commercial area unlocks multiple opportunities, he said. That is just what the $2.1 million MassWorks Infrastructure Grant is supposed to accomplish.
Changes to the lot on the northeast corner of Boston and Sandy Pond roads proves his point.
Site work began the first week in July to build an 8,000 square foot building for Steward Medical Group along with a bank, a coffee shop and other retail space. Construction is moving quickly.
A weatherproof shell is due on Dec. 1 for the medical center, said Mickey Higgins, a Groton resident who owns South Coast Development, which owns the land. The new office and physical therapy center could be open within a year.
"Mickey's plans for here are unbelievable," said Art Prest, a member of the Economic Development Committee. He and his brother Val have been watching the corner since 1947.
Thanks to hard work from many, it will soon be a busier spot.
More housing is going in behind Shaws, said Town Planner Michelle Collette. The developer has already laid pipe to connect to the new sewer line.
Without sewer, the commercial and housing development was stalled.
Septic tanks would not work for the businesses that wanted to move in, he learned. They needed sewer connections.
He brought his concerns to Town Manager Mark Haddad. "Mark dug right in," Prest said.
But the 2015 application did not bring any state money. "We put our thinking caps back on," Prest said.
In 2015, Groton appropriated $3 million for the sewer program. They spent $200,000 to engineer and design a system because the state needed a plan.
Ayer agreed to supply the service.
The effort paid off. Groton got a $2.1 million grant in 2016. The new Groton sewer connections will run down Westford Road to connect with the existing system in Ayer.
Ash noted the town's hard work, saying that his assistant came out four times to tour the area with officials before the grant was made.
He promised to return for the ribbon cutting.
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