By Keith Regan, Contributing Writer
Westborough – The Board of Selectmen Oct. 28 took a key step toward finalizing the town’s acquisition of the Westborough State Hospital property, approving a land disposition agreement with the state.
The public equivalent of a purchase and sale agreement, the agreement will eventually being recorded at the Registry of Deeds, giving the town authority over the property in a deal approved by lawmakers in August.
Town Manager Jim Malloy said the process of taking over the 95-acre campus has taken two and a half years from start to finish.
“This is another big day in the process,” said Selectman Ian Johnson.
“This is basically a closing,” said Chair George Barrette, calling it the “beginning of what we hope will be a very exciting process.”
Selectmen have already appointed a committee to oversee redevelopment of the property and two local design firms have offered free technical assistance to the town to help jumpstart the process.
The town will pay the state $2.2 million for the property over a 10-year period and will split any proceeds from future sales of the property with the state.
In other business, Selectmen:
– Voted to allow the town’s 10 off-premise liquor license holders – package and convenience stores – to begin liquor sales at 10 a.m. on Sundays, in accordance with recently changed state law. Town Manager Jim Malloy said Police Chief Alan Gordon is not concerned about the change resulting in any enforcement issues.
– Voted to reduce certain building inspection fees for nonprofits. The board recently boosted inspection fees to $100 and Barrette said that had proven a hardship for some nonprofits. The board agreed to reduce the fee back to the previous level of $40 for groups that qualify.
– Accepted a $20,000 gift from the Westborough Rotary Club for the purpose of establishing a permanent electronic sign at the intersection of East Main and Lyman streets.