Editor, Daily News
At the Tuesday night Athol Selectboard meeting, the board voted unanimously to have me draft a letter to the developer RMD as well as Market Basket stating the town's continued support for the Market Basket store. The board also requested that representatives from RMD and Market Basket attend its next meeting on Aug. 19 or the first meeting in September for a public update on the project. The following letter was signed and forwarded on Wednesday:
"The Town of Athol, Mass., wishes to state its continued support of the construction and ultimate opening of the new Market Basket location in our community. Our boards, committees, and employees continue to work in a collaboration to ensure that this project moves forward and offers our residents additional choices for their personal shopping needs.
"We consider the new store the vital 'anchor' location within the North Quabbin Commons project. The store is paramount to the process of continued efforts to market and attract other retail entities that would build and invest in our community via this project location. The Town of Athol further committed its support when it approved the waterline project via Templeton Road that will bring additional water pressures and supply to the first phase location as well as to the other buildable property in that area.
"As we continue our collective support, we need to emphasize that our community, made up of proud and hardworking individuals, is hopeful that it does not become entrapped in the 'cross fire,' so to speak, of the current, very public and unfortunate conditions occurring within the Market Basket corporate entity. We choose not to issue any type of derogatory message towards the current situation but rather ask that you be aware of the devastating impact a decision not to pursue the full opening of the Athol location could cause our community and region.
"We would at this time like to reach out personally to Market Basket and Retail Management and Development, Inc. (RMD) as a sign of our appreciation and support and formally invite you to an upcoming Board of Selectmen meeting in Athol, Mass., either on Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014 or on Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014, both of which begin at 7 p.m. Our purpose for this invitation and request is to have a 'face to face' update to our community during this difficult time. It is important that our residents and leaders hear an update directly from you rather than relying on Boston-based media reports covering the current events.
"We are hopeful that you will accept our invitation to attend to openly discuss the progress and the future of the project. We would definitely appreciate your attendance even if the current situation is rectified. Our economic well-being in our area depends very much on the finalization of the Athol store. Our community needs the job creation that this project brings with it.
"In closing, please again realize our continued support for the Athol store and project and please reach out to our office via our administrative assistant, Heather Brissette, at 978-249-2368 to confirm which date would work best for the update to our board and citizens of Athol and surrounding communities.
"Sincerely, Athol Board of Selectmen; 584 Main St.; Athol, Mass. 01331."