Old Fire Station Proposal: Small Cafe, Store With Fresh Vegetables, & Public Rest Rooms [with video]
If the sale is approved at Spring Annual Town Meeting on Monday, May 5, the potential new owners of the old Groton Center Fire Station, Dan and Lori McElroy, will create both living space on the second floor and a first floor store that will be a single unit selling fresh vegetables, a small cafe, and public restroom facilities for those taking a break from the Rail Trail. There is a possibility that they will also offer space for bike rentals.
According to McElroy's Attorney Bob Collins, the facade of building will be returned to the look it had before becoming a fire station, when it operated as an Odd Fellow's Hall. This will include the elimination of the large overhead doors. He stressed that he expected that the facility would serve as a convenience and not a destination, attracting pedestrians as well as those using the Rail Trail. He added that the plans complement one of the other McElroy businesses, Groton Center Farm.
Collins outlined expected parking spaces on the site, including two spaces in the rear for the second floor tenants, and believes that the on-site parking is sufficient for the plan including seven spaces in front including a handicapped space.
Collins pointed out that the plan supports the vision of the Town Center Overlay District (TCOD). Planning Board member Russ Burke commented that the plan was consistent with the overlay district adding, "I don't believe that parking will be a problem."
Planning Board Chairman John Giger pointed out that the TCOD requires sidewalks on both sides of the street and wanted to ensure that there was enough room to back up without encroaching on the sidewalk.
The Finance Committee was unanimous in its support for this sale while Selectmen voted 4 to 1 in favor. At Collins' request, the Planning Board also voted to send a letter of support.