The news that an agreement has been reached to purchase and demolish Motel Caswell didn’t just have an impact in the Tewksbury business community. It also impacts the Tewksbury Police Department, according to Police Chief Timothy Sheehan.
Sheehan said the construction of a $12 million, 45,000-square foot entertainment complex would change how department resources are used at the property located at 450 Main Street.
“We have expended an awful lot of resources down there that I don’t anticipate we will be using with this business going in there,” said Sheehan. “We welcome any new businesses where residents, and especially kids, can go for entertainment.”
The demolition of Motel Caswell would decrease the number of motels in Tewksbury from seven to six, Sheehan said.
Motels in Tewksbury have proven to be busy locations for police activity, with many arrests made for outstanding warrants along with more serious crimes.
Sheehan said, while not speaking specifically about Motel Caswell, the problems arise because of the inexpensive rate of the motels drawing a group of patrons that can lead to issues with police.
Motel Caswell was the center of controversy in recent years after it was seized by the government because of its high crime levels. The seizure was eventually overturned by a federal judge in Boston.
“We’ve had lots of calls for service (at the town’s motels),” said Sheehan. “It’s not a secret that the motels can be involved in drug activity, domestic violence and prostitution. We’re looking forward to a new business that operates during normal business hours and is responsible to the community.”
While announcing plans to develop the Motel Caswell land on Tuesday, Donald MacLaren said he has known the Caswell family for many years. He added that the motel has received an undeserved bad reputation.
“None of this would be possible without the Caswells,” said MacLaren on Tuesday. “I know they get a lot of bad press, but the bottom line is they want what’s best for the town.”