By Brenda Crowell
After several weeks of discussions and several quotes, a town-owned lot near the new Upton Community Center site will be surveyed as approved by the Board of Selectmen during the Board’s meeting of February 15.
“This is a sliver of land that is next to the old Holy Angels Church,” Selectman Stephen Matellian told remote viewers at that meeting. “It’s a piece of land that’s just kind of a triangular piece. We don’t know exactly how big it is, but it’s the former location of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) Hall.”
The Board approved a quote of $4,900 from Allen Engineering to complete the survey at 0 Milford Street. The town had previously received quotes of $10,000 and $6,500, which were discussed during the Board of Selectmen’s February 1 meeting. Those quotes were deemed as being too high.
“I think we were all a little surprised where the figures came in,” Economic Development Council (EDC) Chair Dave Ross told the Selectmen on February 1. “We thought $5,000 would be enough to cover it, but it seems like we’re going to need to increase that to a slightly higher number.”
Town Manager Derek Brindisi said during the February 15 Board of Selectmen meeting that Town Planner Paul Dell’Aquila, per the Board’s request, sought four quotes. The lowest of those was Allen Engineering’s bid of $4,900. Brindisi added that the town has worked with Allen Engineering in the past, and that the firm has done a lot of survey and engineering work for several developers in town.
“Once this lot is surveyed, we would ask the town meeting to authorize the Board of Selectmen to sell, lease, or transfer this lot,” Brindisi said. “What’s in front of you (on February 15) is to authorize a sum of $4,900 so that the EDC can go ahead and procure the surveying services from Allen Engineering.”
Completing the survey paves the way for what happens next with the parcel.
“The first step is creating an individual lot for this property. In order to do that, we need a formal survey completed so that we can submit the new plot to the Planning Board for acceptance,” Ross said. “The EDC supports this, and I personally think it’s pretty straightforward. The second proposal by the EDC is to ask the May Town Meeting to give authorization to the Board of Selectmen to sell, lease, or transfer the property. This would enable the parcel to be included in a new Request for Proposals (RFP) release this summer.”
The motion to fund the survey passed unanimously.
“I would support the recommendation coming out of the EDC that’s sponsoring this,” said Selectman Brett Simas. “If they’re comfortable with the $4,900 estimate and with the contractor, I think that’s fantastic.”
Besides housing the GAR Building, the parcel was at one time the home of the Fire Department. There is currently a stone monument with a plaque on the site to commemorate this.
“There is a lot of history around the GAR lot. It’s important to consistently note that the EDC will be requiring that the current plaque remain part of any future development, incorporating history with the future,” Ross said. “The EDC believes the inclusion of the GAR parcel and its historical plaque in a potential downtown revitalization project would create more opportunities for residents to learn about and appreciate the history of the site.”
The light pink parcel shows the location of the lot where the Grand Army of the Republic Building once stood. A motion to have the lot surveyed was approved by Upton’s Board of Selectmen on February 15. Dark green parcels are town-owned, light green are privately owned, and the pink and magenta parcels to the right of the brook are the town-owned Community Center. (Contributed image)