Elm Square has a long history as a business center for Groveland. The square is at the junction of two state roads and serves as a busy intersection and gateway to Haverhill for commuters. Although businesses have been established in other parts of town, the square remains a potential center for consumer-oriented stores, restaurants, and professional offices. Unfortunately, the square has lost many parking spaces along the roadway due to the new alignment and bridge replacement. For most businesses and offices today, parking is an extremely important commodity. This may be the biggest reason the square has difficulty attracting new tenants.
The square is located next to the Merrimack River, however there is no access to the river anywhere within walking distance. Other town centers such as Amesbury and Newburyport take advantage of riverfront access for encouraging business and consumer access. With an attractive park or river walk, and potentially a boat dock, Groveland’s center could take advantage of the location next to the Merrimack and become more competitive.
The town must continue to attend to the look of the square to make it attractive to both businesses and consumers. With societal changes due to the recent pandemic more people want to move to Groveland to enjoy its small-town appeal. These same people want more local options for food, entertainment, and services. By providing these options in our town center we can ensure its continued viability and strength keeping Groveland a great place to live.
The mission of the Elm Square Committee has been to review possible changes to the square that will enhance its stature and provide for long term viability. In other words, to make the square more useful for the citizens of Groveland and surrounding areas. Based on the report submitted to the Board of Selectmen in 2018 from the previous Elm Square Committee, a new charge was issued. We have followed this charge during the past two years and have produced a set of recommendations in this report to enable Groveland to accomplish this mission.