Club’s plans for ASF approved

MILFORD – A plan to turn the former American Stage Festival into a multimillion-dollar facility for the Souhegan Valley Boys & Girls Club got its expected approval Tuesday, but not before some neighbors expressed concern about traffic heading out a back path.

The plan, which is the subject of extended fund raising, would involve tearing down much of the office space around the former ASF theater and replacing it with facilities for the regional youth center, including a gymnasium.

It may open as early as next year.

The Planning Board unanimously approved the construction Tuesday, but not before several residents of nearby Sunset Circle expressed concern about a long, narrow spit of land attached to the property, that runs behind their cul-de-sac and ends on Route 13, next to Milford Lumber.

The stretch of land is slated to be used for a walking path that will allow people between Route 13 and the Souhegan River, where a walking trail is being developed.

The owners wanted the path to be wide enough to handle a single lane of traffic, to be used for emergency vehicles and occasionally for traffic leaving shows at the theater, operated separately from the Boys & Girls Club.

After objections from Sunset Circle residents who didn’t want cars driving right past their houses, that idea was dropped. The path will now only be wide enough to handle wheelchairs and walkers.