Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


March 13, 2014

Oberto: A fresh set of eyes

Believes Andover's a nice town, with a few problems


Oberto said she was “driven” to run for the Senate and has been “tempted” by other opportunities, but the time was not right. But when the selectman’s seat opened up this spring, “I thought, ‘This is where I live. I want to be part of making our money make sense.’”

One place where she thinks things don’t make sense is in planning for renovating or relocating the Town Yard.

She spent a couple hours recently speaking with some of the public works employees who work downtown.

“You get different opinions,” she said. “If we move it, you have the contamination issue to deal with. Every little thing triggers another thing. There’s so much to be considered. I’d like to be part of working through that.”

Recently, the Board of Selectmen told Town Manager Buzz Stapczynski to go back to the drawing board on the Town Yard issue and come up with what they called “least-cost options” on how to proceed. Any proposal, either to rezone the property or purchase land for another Town Yard, has been put on hold.

Oberto said she thinks there may be a simple solution: “I’ve spoken to some of the neighbors (of the current Town Yard). They’d be willing to sell. Then you could expand the Town Yard” and keep it downtown.

Another thing that drives her to run, she said, is that she is descended from a long line of public servants dating back to the Daughters of the American Revolution.

“My daughters are 15th-generation Americans,” she said, noting that her family tree can be traced back to Sen. Rufus Choate, himself a descendant of original American settlers on Hog Island in Ipswich.

“Something in there drives me at some level,” she said. “I want to keep Andover a good town. I just want to bring good sense. Do we really need to do this, or that? We’ve got to find a new paradigm. When times are great, you can build whatever you want.”

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