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Planning Board Thanks Cathcart for Years of Service; Lowder Says Starbucks, Bakery ‘Making Progress’

At last night’s Planning Board meeting, board members and guests thanked former recording secretary and permit tech Dawn Cathcart (center, in red) for her efforts on behalf of the town and wished her well in her new position.

The meeting opened with news from community and economic development manager Alexandra Lowder that the Starbucks project slated for 1800 Main St. is proceeding. The project will be completed in two phases. The building owner is now in process of obtaining needed permits to do the demolition necessary to bring the building back to a shell and add the required grease trap. Then, Starbucks will apply for its own permit to do the build out.

“We don’t have an ETA for completion at this time, but we’re finally making some progress,” said Lowder. She also noted that the bakery slated to move into 1866 Main St., the former Santander Bank site, is moving forward. 

“They have submitted their plans to the health department,” said Lowder, adding that kitchen plans are under review as well. Finally, she updated the board on plans to use some fee in lieu of sidewalk funding and, potentially, a grant to close up some of the sidewalk gaps along Main St.

After Lowder’s report, chair Stephen Johnson invited the board to speak to Cathcart’s work for the town.

“She knew what was going on, always,” said board member Bob Fowler. “And wasn’t afraid to tell us — in a nice way. We miss you, the town misses you, and I wish you luck in your new endeavor.”

Member Vinny Fratalia presented Cathcart with flowers and a gift and spoke to her impact.

“You were always there, having our back,” said Fratalia. “For that I want to thank you.” 

Board members Jay Delaney and Eric Ryder echoed their colleagues’ sentiments, thanking Cathcart for her years of service, expertise and tact and wishing her well in her new role; she now holds a similar position in Burlington.

Johnson also invited former board member Nancy Reed and attorney David Plunkett to speak. Reed called out the importance of having another woman working with the board.

“We knew if we went off track, you’d be there,” said Reed. “It won’t be the same without you.”

After approving a non-substantial change determination for 1880 Main St. related to the barn adjacent to Tewksbury Country Club, the board discussed a tour of the new elementary school, which Ryder said is coming along well.

“Some of the rooms have drywall, their drop ceilings are in,” said Ryder. “They’re doing some lighting, the facade, the windows have all come in.” He will come back to the board with a suggested date for a walk-through.

After ascertaining that Lowder and town engineer Kevin Hardiman would manage the Main St. sidewalk project and and seek an available $400,000 grant, the board adjourned until Feb. 28.

Lorna is a U.S. Army veteran and 25-year resident of Tewksbury who has written for organizations ranging from the DIA to InformationWeek to a free weekly in New London that sent her to interview the pastry chef at Foxwoods.

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