Pete & Henry’s to become park


For the Athol Daily News

Published: 03-08-2023 4:54 PM

ROYALSTON – On Aug. 21, 2018, Pete & Henry’s restaurant in South Royalston was destroyed by fire.

In September 2021, owners John and Tammy Cloutier sold the vacant lot which had been home to the popular eatery to the Town of Royalston for $5,000.

On Tuesday, representatives of a subcommittee of the Royalston South Village Revitalization Committee (RSVRC) presented the Selectboard with its request for a $30,000 grant from the town’s Community Preservation Committee (CPC) to fund the first phase of a plan to transform the property into a community park. The grant application must be submitted to the CPC next week. If the proposal receives the committee’s backing it will then go before voters at the Annual Town Meeting for final approval.

“Some of the issues at the park—it has a pretty significant slope and we need to have some flat areas,” said subcommittee spokesperson Lynne Kellner. “In particular, we want a flat area for a patio. There’s going to be play space, an area for sculptures, there’s going to be steps going from the park area up to the cemetery; a lot of people said they really wanted to have that connection.”

The night before the Selectboard meeting Kellner explained that the steering committee of the RSVRC met to discuss how to proceed with the park transformation. She said the first phase would be for site development, including removing the concrete. The walkway going down Main Street would remain, as it retains handicap accessibility. The patio space would be on the Blossom Street side

“In the grant, we have put in $5,000 for the planning phase of getting some scale drawings and possibly an engineering study, because once we deal with changing the slope, the water might run down the lot and then down Blossom Street, which – as I think you know – has created problems in the past,” she explained. “I don’t know for sure if we’ll need that, but we have it in there in case we do.”

Other costs to be covered through the grant include $15,000 for demolition costs, $2,800 for loam and $1,000 for hydroseeding. Kellner asked Department of Public Works Director Jaret Thiem, who was also at the meeting, if his department might be able to offer some assistance with site preparation.

“The thing I see us being most helpful with is the demolition of the concrete and hauling it away,” said Thiem. “We have a source for getting rid of that at a reasonable rate, whereas if you paid an outside contractor that would be huge money.”

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One item listed in the grant application—$5,000 for the Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust— generated some questions from the board. Kellner said she has been in touch with Project Manager Aaron Nelson, who told her the town pays the organization to oversee the conservation restriction. Kellner said she was unsure if the $5,000 was an annual or one-time expense.

“I know, that seems like a lot of money to me, but I can have him clarify that,” said Kellner. “And he’s working on a draft of the conservation restriction, which will then go to the Conservation Commission. So, in the grant, we’re making everything pending the approval of the Conservation Commission, just so we can go forward.”

In addition to the RSVRC, the grant application has received letter of support from the Royalston Parent Teacher Group and the Millers River Watershed Council. If the CPC votes to back the application, it will go before voters at the June Town Meeting.

Greg Vine can be reached at