Big business brewing in Athol

  • The former Plotkin Furniture warehouse at 105 Marble St., Athol is being converted into a brewery. ATHOL DAILY NEWS/DEBORRAH PORTER

Staff Writer
Published: 5/31/2018 10:32:38 PM

ATHOL — The vision of “building back downtown Athol, block by block” is Town Manager Shaun Suhosk’s focus for the next fiscal year.

He said Thursday he will flesh out with key department heads a framework for a downtown action plan.

“We will utilize the marketing study completed by Peg Barringer and the Urban Land Institute/Technical Assistance Panel study completed over the past year to help guide the effort,” he said. “Separately, we are seeking to target Community Development Block Grant funds to eligible projects in the downtown target area, starting with Marble Street.”

Suhoski also noted that over the next couple of years the town must explore options for the old fire station building on Exchange Street and re-establish a downtown fire station for an ambulance and fire response vehicle.

“Roughly 80 percent of Athol’s population resides within a three-quarter-mile swath of downtown on each side of the Millers River and response times would greatly benefit as well as reducing the need for heavy vehicles traveling down and up the steep grade of Main Street to the uptown station,” he said.

He noted he recently made appointments filling out the Downtown Vitality Committee, which he says has been “rejuvenated.”

The DVC members include Jonathan Eldredge seated as chairman, Diane DiPietro, Anne Willhite and Lee Chauvette, members. Associate members include Patrick DiPietro, Paula Robinson, Shelley Small, and David Small.

Brewery to Open

Construction and renovations on a brewery at the former Plotkin Furniture warehouse at 105 Marble St. are progressing. Business owner Joseph Gochinski of Atlantic Brewers & Distillers has reported to the town that the building is about 80 percent complete. He hopes to finish the work and install equipment in late summer or early fall.

Suhoski said Thursday it is anticipated the brewing equipment will be ordered next month, and it will take about three months to set up. Test runs will be conducted in the fall.

“They likely won’t open to the public until early 2019, but it is nice to see the continued progress,” said Suhoski.

He said he plans to “convene the Department of Public Works, Planning, Community Development Block Grant and downtown property owners to initiate some master planning for improvements.

“In 2016, I directed the planning and CDBG folks to complete the required documentation to have downtown Athol approved as a target area for block grant funds,” he continued. “That designation is still under review along with the grant application to reconstruct Marble Street. We hope to begin building back downtown’s luster block by block.”

Athol Grill at 491 Main St. (the former Cinnamon’s restaurant) is also expected to open in the near future.

Owner Rudy Kotarakas reports progress on updates to the interior has been a little slow, and he could not give a projected opening date. The restaurant will serve “comfort food” such as lasagna, burgers, shepherd’s pie, and will offer specials like fish, lamb, pork chops and tenderloin.

You can reach Deborrah Porter at: dporter@atholdailynews.com or 978-249-3535, ext. 658.


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