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RMV 'explores' town

Casaubon, Armory scoped out as sites

February 16, 2010
SOUTHBRIDGE — With its big public hearing coming up Feb. 22, the Registry of Motor Vehicles has been exploring two key Southbridge sites as potential office locations — Casaubon Senior Center and the Armory/Community Center.

To Town Manager Chris Clark, though, the key word is "exploring."

"There is some value in having [the Registry] in the Senior Center because it's downtown," he said. "… That probably brings some business to the downtown core."

He noted, however, the decision ultimately depends on "what the Registry is willing to put into it."

The issue is just the latest in an eight-month simmering stew. Back in July, the Registry's proposed move from the Big Bunny Plaza to the eastbound Charlton Plaza on the Mass Pike sparked a 6,600-signature petition campaign and effort by local officials and the region's state legislators to stop the move. Although they argued a range of concerns weren't being adequately addressed — primarily, safety near the new site and the economic effect on Southbridge — the Registry moved anyway in early August, citing large budget cuts and the fact the Pike location would be rent-free.

According to Registrar Rachel Kaprielian, the agency is always willing to look at "any space that's free to the Registry" as a potential office site. It sent representatives to Southbridge about two weeks ago at the invitation of State Rep. Geraldo Alicea, who will host Monday's hearing at Town Hall.

See Thursday's Southbridge Evening News for complete coverage of community news.

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