Originally appeared in the Worcester Telegram: https://www.telegram.com/story/business/2021/05/09/chamber-corner-auburn-buzzing-over-major-projects-town/4975198001/
The Auburn Chamber of Commerce is excited about the construction and renovation buzz occurring in town this year.
Here are some of the major projects that are underway or projected to happen in 2021.
Julia Bancroft & Mary D. Stone Redevelopment Projects
Pennrose Properties and the town of Auburn celebrated the groundbreaking of the historic rehabilitation of the Julia Bancroft School, a 60-unit development for seniors 62 and older.
Plans for the redevelopment include renovating the original 1920s historic school building, demolishing the later-built addition and replacing it with a new, four-story building. Construction is currently underway and the project is slated for completion in summer 2022.
Construction continues at Mary D. Stone. Currently, the developer Pennrose Properties is working on pre-leasing activities for Mary D. Stone. When this redevelopment project is complete there will be 55 total units (45 affordable units and 10 market-rate units).
The town administration is thrilled to see 110 units of high-quality senior housing coming to Auburn. For more information please visit auburnguide.com
Webster Five Millbury Street
Webster Five is excited to be moving its corporate offices to 35 Millbury St. in Auburn.
The bank has been providing financial solutions to the community in Worcester County for more than 150 years, and is excited to continue serving customers in a new, larger, more centralized location.
To support the evolution well into the future, Webster Five is incorporating a more modern and collaborative workspace for its back-office team that will drive efficiencies across the bank and help to better serve the customer’s needs.
The corporate offices will allow the bank to consolidate three non-branch office locations currently in Webster, Auburn and Worcester. There will be no change to the existing branches in Webster, Auburn and Worcester, and they will continue to serve customers in their current locations.
As construction begins to wrap up, employees are expected to begin moving in June. For more information about Webster Five’s new corporate office, check out the website: https://www.web5.com/webster-five-corporate-offices/
Proposed Library-Goddard Park-Pedestrian Bridge project
The redevelopment of Drury Square has been an ongoing focus of the town of Auburn administration. The overall vision for Drury Square is to develop a sense of place and to enhance the economic value of the area as a place to shop, live, and visit. Creating a vibrant, walkable and identifiable town center will take time but with each initiative and grant we move closer to bringing this vision to life.
An important anchor in Drury Square is Goddard Park.
Having this open space in Drury Square is a huge asset and can help facilitate civic engagement, community events and passive recreation.
Recently, the town presented a proposed three-phased project for the library and Goddard Park to the Library Board of Trustees. The three-phased project includes installing a large sunroom addition on the back of the library, implementing various improvements to Goddard Park and constructing a pedestrian bridge over the brook to physically link the library parcel with Goddard Park.
This proposed project will create a welcoming environment at the library and Goddard Park that will encourage visitors, residents and surrounding businesses to utilize the Park and provide easy access to the library.
By providing direct access to and from Goddard Park to the library via a pedestrian bridge, the park can be a huge asset to the library for interactive programs and events. Auburn Pond (Mirror Lake) abutting Goddard Park, is currently underutilized but has great potential for programming and recreation.
The town applied to the Pappas Foundation for a grant to help implement the Library/Goddard Park/ Pedestrian Bridge project. Town administration was notified on Jan. 22 that the Pappas Foundation awarded the town $505,000 for this proposed project. This grant truly makes this project possible.
The projected project cost is estimated to be $1 million. Town administration will be placing articles on the annual town meeting warrant in May, requesting approval for the remaining financing plan components.
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation has designated $280,000 to Auburn in the fourth round of awards for the Shared Winter Streets and Spaces program.
The program was created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and provides assistance to municipalities in support of public health and safe mobility.
The award will fund enhancements to pedestrian facilities on Brotherton Way, providing additional safety features and increasing connections to Drury Square destinations including Goddard Park and the Library.
The proposed improvements include installation of landscaping islands, expanding the northern sidewalk into a new multi-use path for pedestrians and bicyclists, enhancing pedestrian crossing signals, and reworking existing wheelchair ramps to be ADA-compliant. The project will tie into the ongoing reconstruction of Auburn Street, as well as planned town spring paving activities.
In addition to these exciting projects, Auburn also has others that include a renovation of Camp Gleason, which is being completed by the hard work of the Department of Public Works. This space is due to be completed in the spring of 2022, and the hope is that it will be utilized as another town meeting space and a studio for the Auburn Cable and Community Television Division.