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Easton Officials Discuss Town's Future With Business Community

Town Administrator David Colton joined Selectmen Colleen Corona and Dan Murphy to chat with business owners at Thursday's Chamber of Commerce breakfast.

Easton's business community got a brief look into the future of the Shovel Town Thursday morning at a Chamber of Commerce Breakfast at Queset on the Pond.

Board of Selectmen members Colleen Corona and Dan Murphy joined Town Administrator David Colton to discuss the future of the town. Subjects ranged from the Beacon Shovel works Project to the Gov. Ames Estate to town sewage.

The 113 historically preserved units at the Shovel Shop currently under construction will be the centerpiece of a transformed downtown, officials said.

The project includes a $4.35 million loan to Beacon Communities LLC from Community Preservation Act funds, which was voted by the town in 2010 to save the shops from being transformed into 182 affordable housing units by property owners George and Robert Turner.

"It's going to be beautiful," Colton said. "The plans are stunning."

Colton added that the construction will not come without temporary inconveniences for Main Street business owners and residents. The Shovel Shop project will be in conjunction with an updated sewer system downtown and a revitalized Main Street with buried wires, updated streetlights and cross-walks.

Main Street revitalization will be partially funded with a $1 million grant from the state. Construction could begin in the spring, Colton said.

"Unfortunately, we are going to be digging up the street," said Corona.

Colton told the business owners at the Chamber breakfast that the town would work to minimize the effects of the construction on local businesses. He said representatives from the town would be in constant contact with business owners throughout the process.

Officials said they are looking to update sewage at places like Five Corners and the Easton Industrial Park. While Colton explained the town is discussing sewage hook-up possibilities with the town of Mansfield for Five Corners, Murphy explained that the town may have the capability to partner with Brockton to help with Industrial park sewage.

Colton explained that sewage capabilities in Easton's industrial park could help drive businesses to town.

Corona also discussed the recently purchased Gov. Ames Estate on Oliver Street. The town bought a Conservation Restriction for the 35 acres of land, which was purchased by the Trustees of Reservation.

"Even though it's not really known out there, the property is open to the public right now," Corona said.

Officials also highlighted future development at Queset on the Pond - a "mixed-use" district behind the Stoneforge Restaurant. Mitigation efforts surrounding the project will bring infrastructure improvements to the area, Colton said, including an improved stop light at CVS and improvements to Easton's fire station on Depot Street.

Corona explained that the town is also creating a Master Planning steering committee for the town to guide future development and zoning.

"There are many different aspects to this master planning process," she said. "It's something we've waited a long time to do."

Colton told the business owners that he wanted members of the business community to participate. He also hopes residents are involved.

"We're trying to do a more grassroots type of planning," he said.

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