GROTON -- Intending to run a low-key campaign utilizing mostly social media such as Facebook, Justin Halleran, candidate for the Board of Selectmen, admitted that he is not a politician and did not have a specific personal agenda, only a strong affection for the town he was born in.
"I'm running for a lot of reasons," said Halleran. "I've always had an interest in running for something and decided now would be the time to run for selectman. It's been on my mind for several years now, but I've been waiting until I was a little older. I've always had a great love for the town of Groton."
Manager of the Groton Exchange for the last eight years, Halloran was born and raised in Groton and was a graduate of the Groton-Dunstable Regional High School.
"I'd like to bring more unity to the town," said Halleran of his reasons for running. "I'd like to see the golf course become a real asset for the town of Groton and start to make some money. I'd really like to bring some changes over there so that people will want to use it. It seems that over the years the number of people using the club have dropped off."
A relatively young man himself, Halleran sees Groton as being in a transitional moment, with one generation handing off the reins to the next.
"Basically, there seems to be a real lack of youth and ideas in town, so I would like to bring the younger generation into the process and get them involved," said Halleran, a resident of Pleasant Street.
"I would like to promote more commercial development, too," continued Halleran. "I think this town has a big hole so far as small business is concerned. We need to attract more companies into town that we can offer townsfolk more diverse places in the community to shop. "
Commercial development has been uppermost in the minds of selectmen in recent years with ambitious efforts to develop Station Avenue and hopes for the Four Corners seemingly having ground to a halt.
Bright spots, however, have been the development of 134 Main St., otherwise known as Boynton Meadows, and plans for the former Prescott School.
As a businessman himself, Halleran expressed concern for commercial development in town.
"I think Boynton Meadows was a good idea," Halleran said. "It's only going to add to the popularity of the center of town. I think that any commercial development downtown and on Station Avenue would be an upgrade in the appearance of the town. People have to decide what they want to see downtown. We have some great little restaurants in town that are really popular with people coming from outside Groton to patronize them. I think a couple more charming little restaurants would do well.
"The Four Corners definitely needs something," continued Halleran. "If elected, I'll look forward to working with the other members of the Board of Selectmen and other boards in town to figure out how we can improve that intersection and make the town better."
Connected in part to the Four Corners was a recent plan to bring wastewater services to the Lost Lake neighborhoods that would have been connected to an Ayer treatment plant by way of Sandy Pond Road. Rejected by voters, if the plan had been approved, sewer service at the intersection would likely have drawn more commercial activity into the area.
"Over the long course, it has to be done," said Halleran of eventually bringing a sewer system to Lost Lake. "So we can do it now or 20 years from now. Having it voted down was a tough thing to have happen, but as we can see from the system installed in the center of town, everybody got through that and now the infrastructure is in and it's made the town a better place to live. I think a West Groton Sewer District will just bring growth to the whole area of Lost Lake."
Halleran also expressed support for the redevelopment of the Prescott building as a key element in a revitalized downtown.
"I have no personal preference as to what happens there, but I do think that the building itself is a centerpiece in the town of Groton," said Halleran. "So something has to go on there but it needs to be really well thought out so the property can be preserved for future generations."
A first-time candidate who has never held a position on any board or committee before, Halleran will be running against incumbents Joshua Degen and Stuart Schulman for two available seats on the Board of Selectmen.
"I look forward to serving the town as one of its selectmen," concluded Halleran. "I'm not campaigning to be a politician or to set an agenda. I just want to carry out the will of the people and have their best interests at heart."