Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

News

July 19, 2012

South School site is Town Yard option

The Board of Selectmen is reviewing town-owned property that could be used to replace the existing Town Yard on Lewis Street, and the list includes South Elementary School property.

The survey of municipal land is just the latest chapter in the selectmen's search for a new Town Yard location. In April, a plan to move the facility to Campanelli drive was slated to be withdrawn from Town Meeting, but residents rejected that idea and voted on the project. With a two-thirds majority needed, the article failed by 31 votes.

At a meeting Monday, acting Department of Public Works Director Chris Cronin furnished a list of several town-owned parcels of land that could be considered.

Not all of the options are suitable for the project, however. For many of the parcels on the list, "they're either going to be wet or there's lots of residents," said Cronin. "Most of these parcels have those kinds of challenges."

One option the board discussed is using acres of land behind South Elementary School, located at the corner of Andover and Woburn streets.

A corner of the South School site became a contentious option as a replacement location for the Ballardvale Fire Station during the last year. In that plan, the fire station would have been built on the northeast corner of the property, at the corner of Woburn and Andover streets, forcing a baseball diamond to be relocated behind the school. Throughout discussion, the proposal to locate the fire station there received harsh criticism from neighbors and members of the South School community.

Though nobody said the land behind the school was a viable option for the Town Yard, Town Manager Buzz Stacpzynski said the land "is a good location to get to [Andover's] east side, west side."

Selectman Mary Lyman said, "center-wise, it's not that far from downtown."

Selectman Alex Vispoli, however, said that "with the neighborhoods in that area, I'm not sure that would be a viable site."

The board is expected to discuss the full list in greater detail at a future meeting.

For feedback or questions on this story, please email dluca@andovertownsman.com.

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