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'Central 13' project brings towns together


September 13, 2012
When the representatives of 13 towns were done with Tuesday night's Central 13 Prioritization Project exercise at the Publick House in Sturbridge, their maps looked a bit like abstract art.

Red, yellow and green dots, arrows, circles and scrawled handwriting covered the pages, identifying the places they felt were local priorities for infrastructure, development and preservation, respectively.

The two groups working on the Southbridge/Charlton/Sturbridge maps largely agreed, seeing the rail trail, Southbridge industrial park, Route 20 corridor in Charlton and Sturbridge, and the AO complex and development concerns, with the watershed, local farmland and trails as preservation issues. But one notable location marked on the map divided them – one that doesn't actually exist, but has been sporadically talked about for decades: an extension of Route 49 to Southbridge. One group marked it for preservation, the other for development.

For more on this story, please see tomorrow's Southbridge Evening News.

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