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SUN/Mina Corpuz
A car bearing a sign supporting a proposed debt exclusion is parked near the senior center precinct in Groton on Tuesday.

By Mina Corpuz

GROTON — A Proposition 2 1/2 debt exclusion to fund construction of a new senior center building gained narrow approval from voters in Tuesday’s election.

The Proposition 2 1/2 debt exclusion passed by 814 to 791 votes, according to preliminary results.

It will temporarily raise property taxes to fund the $5.43 million project on West Main Street. Plans for the building would double the senior center’s space to 10,000 square feet.

“It’s long overdue,” said Berta Erickson, 78, who voted at the senior center in the afternoon.

The ballot question was the second round of approval needed to move the senior center building project forward. Two-thirds of residents at Town Meeting voted in favor of the debt exclusion at the beginning of the month.

Supporters held “Vote YES” signs and stood near entrances to the three precincts. Parked cars at the senior center donned the same signs on their windshield or side windows.

Some voters like Chris Petroff, 57, voted against the debt exclusion because of the impact it will have.

“The people who least can afford (an exclusion) are the seniors,” he said.

Residents also rejected a majority of ballot questions asking whether to allow various types of recreational marijuana business in town.

Retail received a narrow no vote of 801 to 794, according to preliminary results. Cultivation, craft cooperatives, manufacturing, storage, and microbusinesses were voted down.

“I don’t want to see the quality of the town brought down,” said Sara Foster, 47, who voted no on all the questions at the country club.

Voters supported research by about 30 votes and testing by less than 20, preliminary results state.

Sue Pelletier, 58, voted for most of the marijuana questions including sales and research.

“We need more retail in Groton,” she said, adding that those businesses can help bring in money for the town.

Towns that supported the 2016 state referendum to approve adult marijuana use will need to hold a Town Meeting and ballot vote to ban those establishments in their municipalities.

Groton’s non-binding questions will help guide the Select Board about what action to take.

Candidates for 18 town boards and commissions — a majority who are incumbents — were also elected Tuesday night.

The Town Clerk and moderator positions were among those with candidates up for re-election.

A spot on the Sewer Commission that didn’t have a candidate on the ballot received some write-ins including Town Clerk Michael Bouchard, but a majority of voters left their selection blank.

New candidates elected are:

* John Giger, Select Board

* Fay Raynor, Groton-Dunstable Regional School Committee

* Anna Eliot, Park Commission

* Martha McLure, Commissioner of Trust Funds

Follow Mina on Twitter @mlcorpuz

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