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News Feature

Blue Hill
Originally published in The Weekly Packet, June 19, 2014
‘We will be the future of what South Street needs to be’
Blue Hill Co-op board votes to exercise property option, move store uptown

by Anne Berleant

Blue Hill Co-op board members voted on June 17 to exercise their purchase option on a 5.5 acre parcel on South Street. The vote followed the store’s annual meeting which only three members outside of the board attended. Of those three, two spoke against moving the co-op out of downtown Blue Hill.

However, board members held that the move would benefit both the co-op and the ongoing development on South Street, transforming it into a pedestrian-friendly center. Architect Bruce Stankhe, hired last October, has been working on designs for the proposed building and site.

“We are going to be South Street,” said board vice president Jim Picariello. “We will be the future of what South Street needs to be.”

With the purchase option running out in October, two years after the co-op paid 10 percent of the approximately $144,000 property price, the board had three choices: to purchase the property, to request an extension on the option, or to decline to exercise the option and lose the approximately $14,000 it paid.

With the co-op looking to relocate to a larger space than offered in their current store, the decision to purchase the South Street parcel is a definite move forward.

“That was the linch pin,” said Board Treasurer Richard Paget in a telephone call after the board meeting.

The co-op saw double-digit growth in sales in 2013, according to its annual report, and added 100 members for a total of 1,260.

An anniversary picnic and party to mark the co-op’s 40th year in business will be held on July 20 at the Bay School. Information on the relocation, including design plans and a site walk-through, will be available. The event is open to the public.