Westborough BOS opts out of purchase and sale for Grove Street property

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By Jennifer L. Grybowski, Contributing Writer

Westborough – The Board of Selectmen has voted to terminate the purchase and sale agreement associated with the property at 9 Grove St., citing environmental concerns.

As part of the town’s due diligence, the BOS authorized a soil study be done on the property, which was slated to be converted into a parking lot.

“When they did the Phase I study to see if there was a need for Phase II, the rationale was because the property next door, the fire department, did a Phase II, it would be in the best interest to move forward since the properties are contiguous,” BOS Chair Ian Johnson said. “We anticipated that, and it was included in the warrant article posted for the upcoming Town Meeting. In light of COVID situation, there are multiple rounds of budget cuts the town has been working with and we continue to expect revenue shortfalls.”

Johnson also pointed out that if the Phase II analysis determines it would be unwise to move forward with the property, the town would not recoup what it spent on the study.

“We don’t expect anything different than what is at the fire department, but question was, are we in the position to ask the town to spend the money at this time,” Johnson said.

The town entered into a purchase and sale on the property this winter; Town Manager Kristi Williams had come to the board saying there is not enough dedicated parking for town employees, and that the anticipated addition of bike lanes and outdoor café seating in the downtown area would further limit parking options downtown. The Grove Street property, adjacent to the Westborough Fire Department on Milk Street and in proximity to most of downtown, could add 24 parking spaces, said Williams at the time. The purchase, construction and required due diligence by town counsel was projected to cost an estimated $500,000 to $600,000 total.

Johnson said there is a possibility the town would pursue the property again in the future if circumstances allowed.