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By Anne O’Connor


GROTON — Town officials are hoping the second time proves lucky for a state grant to give new life to its number one commercial zone.

The Board of Selectmen set a goal to revitalize the Four Corners area, where Route 119 and 225 intersect. “One of the best ways would be to put a sewer system in there,” said Town Manager Mark Haddad.

The busy intersection is home to a Shaw’s supermarket and a few smaller businesses. One corner lot is completely empty. The only sewer in Groton is near the center. Around 600 customers are linked to the Pepperell system, Haddad said.

The town applied for a $2.1 million MassWorks grant. “Unfortunately, last year we didn’t get the grant,” Haddad said.

“It’s a highly competitive program,” he said. There were over 100 applicants with $200 million worth of projects. Only $85 million was given out.

The town set out to figure out what they did wrong. The first thing to do was ask.

“The MassWorks people are fantastic,” Haddad said. “They are very, very helpful.”

This year, the town submitted another application for the grant. Erica Kreuter, the director of the MassWorks program, has spent time with town officials on the most recent grant.

She was instrumental in getting Jay Ash, the secretary of Housing and Economic Development, to go on a site visit after the grant, written by Laurie Bonavita, the land use director/town planner, was submitted.

Both Rep. Sheila Harrington and Sen. Eileen Donoghue visited the area with Ash. The secretary told Haddad that the legislators had been camped out on his doorstep.

The town put its best financial foot forward, appropriating $3 million in spring 2015 for the sewer program. There was a caveat. They could only spend $300,000 before receiving a MassWorks grant, Haddad said.

The town needed a plan before applying for the state grant. They used $200,000 for engineering and designing a system.

Haddad estimates the project, which entails building infrastructure to hook into Ayer’s sewer system, will cost about $2.3 million.

South Coast Development, which bought the site of a former Chinese restaurant and Dave Moulton, who has a permitted residential project planned for Four Corners, will pay part of the cost, Haddad said. A MassWorks grant would reimburse the town for money spent.

“We’ve done everything we can do,” Haddad said.

“All we need is that state grant,” Haddad said. “The plans are fully done and ready to go out to bid.”

Groton expects to hear about the MassWorks grant in November.