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The Yankee Express

Webster Updates: Town Saves $1.3 Million on High School Project, Webster Seeks Lake Partnership with State, Permit System Goes On-Line

By Janet Stoica

“It’s all good information,” said Webster Town Administrator Rick LaFond, “we had to rebid our construction piece of the high school project and the new bids recently came in which were $1.3 million below the budget we had anticipated. Considering some of the known costs like modular classrooms this will go a long way. This is extremely good news. All of the bidders are well-qualified and our company, Brait Builders, did a fine job on the Abington High School a few years ago.”
The Boathouse Store LLC located at 4 Town Forest Road, a marijuana establishment, had its license transferred via a host community agreement to Webster Cannabis LLC. Apparently, The Boathouse had three years to open its establishment but never did and in the past year others have sought to purchase the location. Webster Cannabis LLC is a Worcester operation and their new Webster venture should be open by the spring. The building is leased by Ms. Mary Hazard.
The Tropicana Café will soon be opening at 8 Davis Street which was the former home of Mama Dolce’s and B. Kind Café. The business is listed as an ice cream shop but there is no website information available at this time. Hopefully, we can all enjoy some refreshing ice cream and smoothies during the upcoming warmer weather. Stay tuned. 
The Stave & Still Restaurant that was located at 131 Main Street has closed its doors and moved to its Whiskey Rocks location on Airport Road in Dudley. Their liquor license is now available to a new owner who may want to open at the 131 Main Street, Webster location.
According to Mr. LaFond, the Webster Lake Association (WLA), town officials, and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts have an effort underway to receive state support to maintain Webster Lake which is a state-regulated water body.
 “The WLA pays for many phases of the lake’s upkeep and it is unfair for them to maintain an asset that isn’t theirs or the town’s” said Mr. LaFond, “The WLA, two members of the Board of Selectmen (Randy Becker and Mark Rogers), State Rep. Joe McKenna, and State Sen. Ryan Fattman’s staff along with representatives from the Dept. of Environmental Protection met recently to establish a relationship between the state and the town. To the extent we can get the state and town involved, the key is to get the state more involved. Also, Pout Pond, which is close to Route 395, is an inlet on the lake that the WLA managed to obtain a state grant for dredging and weed control a few years ago. If a state grant is involved providing funds versus a separate entity like the WLA, permits are not an issue. A partnership is the ideal solution.”
According to public records, the former Route 16 campground owner, Michael Finamore, is complying with court orders for his property. All previous inhabitants have left the property and there are no residents. Before any inhabitants are allowed back onto the property, updates must be made to the septic, electrical systems, etc. Mr. Finamore is pursuing purchasers for his property and due diligence is currently being performed by those interested parties.
Webster’s on-line permit system is slowly but surely being brought into the 21st century. In 2023 two departments, Building and Fire, were brought on-line making a smoother transition for those seeking fire permits as well as for contractors wanting building, wiring, and plumbing permits. “Hopefully, the Selectmen’s and Town Clerk’s offices and their permits will be on-line next. We look forward to the annual repetitive licensing process to be ready soon and in compliance with all state laws,” said Mr. LaFond.
The Treasurer/Collector’s Offices will be redesigned to be more customer friendly. This office receives the most foot traffic in the Town Hall. As anyone who has visited the office knows, it’s like stepping back in time to the 1920’s (which, I must admit, is pretty cool but at the same time very inefficient as Webster’s population has grown substantially in the past 100 years and computerization and the user-friendliness of the office is in great need of renovation). American Rescue Plan Act Funds will be used to update the workplace. Design work has just begun by Town Engineer Chuck Eaton, and his firm will analyze and design the department.