Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

January 17, 2013

TOWN TALK


The Andover Townsman

---- — Bruins tickets draw crowd to town park

The Boston Bruins caused a scene briefly at the Park on Chestnut Street this week after the team’s Twitter force decided to hold a flash ticket giveaway in Andover.

Working through the Twitter handle @NHLBruins, the team’s mascot Blades and a few Bruins staff were running a contest this week celebrating a return to hockey after recently ended labor disputes nearly cancelled the season.

Using the hashtag #BruinsAreBack to announce their efforts, team staff would give clues as to where they were heading to give free tickets away, and then appear in that community shortly thereafter. The effort was sponsored by TD Bank, and give-aways occurred in communities with bank branches.

Early Tuesday afternoon, the staff tweeted a photo of Blades and two staff members near one of the town’s “Welcome to Andover” signs. Minutes later, a Humvee sports utility vehicle decorated in Boston Bruins decor drove up onto the lawn at the Park.

The tickets were gone in minutes. Hearing the bad news as he arrived on the scene, Tewksbury resident Mike Newcomb threw his hands into the air and vented on his failure to secure free seats.

“This is the third one I just missed,” he said.

Newcomb tracked down the vehicle in Nashua and Cambridge, narrowly missing it both of those times as well.

Also quick to arrive were Andover police.

“We got a call that they were on town property (the grass in the Park),” Police Sgt. Mark Higginbottom said. “You can’t park on town property. We just moved them along.”

— Dustin Luca

Missing Marshall’s...

Andover households got their booklet in the mail from the Department of Community Services last week which lists all of the town-sponsored classes and programs. The booklet also has the “What’s the Buzz?” page, which is a letter from Town Manager Buzz Stapczynski.

This issue he writes about a recent opinion survey done in town by UMass Lowell that had 555 responses. Folks griped about speeding cars, unsupervised youth, housing diversity, lack of large retail stores, public transportation and sidewalks as areas that need improvement.

The survey’s positive findings reported Andover’s quality of life is excellent, the town is safe, the schools are good and community engagement is high. The 2012 Andover Citizens Survey is on the town’s website, andoverma.gov.

– Judy Wakefield

Rezoning? Don’t mess with

the Big Guy

During a presentation on rezoning the present Town Yard location, officials were looking over a map of the town’s Golden Triange — an area near downtown Andover shaped like a triangle by North Main, Pearson and Railroad streets.

A Town Meeting proposal is expected to consider rezoning the area to introduce new uses to the land.

During the discussion, selectmen started reviewing pieces of land on Pearson Street that aren’t included in the project’s study area. They’re located adjacent to a number of other properties, including St. Augustine Parish on Essex Street.

“And what are those two?” Board of Selectmen Chairman Paul Salafia asked. “Those two are...”

He paused as Town Manager Buzz Stapczynski weighed in.

“It’s the church parking lot,” Stapczynski said.

“Oh, right, right,” Salafia responded. “Don’t want to mess with God.”

— Dustin Luca

Stapcyznski speaks at mayors and manager’s breakfast

Community leaders gathered at Andover Country Club last Friday, Jan. 11, for the Merrimack Valley Chamber of Commerce’s annual Mayors and Manager’s Breakfast.

The breakfast featured town and city managers and mayors from Andover, North Andover, Methuen, Haverhill, Lowell, Amesbury and Newburyport.

At the breakfast, Town Manager Buzz Stapczynski updated the crowd on Andover’s recent efforts to improve the town’s business climate, including the creation of the Economic Development Council and the upcoming Town Meeting vote on new zoning districts for two Andover Interstate 93 interchanges.

Stapczynski also offered some examples of write-in comments provided by residents in the town’s recent citizen survey.

One that struck him, he said, was “use Newburyport as a model for the perfect downtown,” he said. “Then, somebody wrote in, ‘Keep taxes down or we’re going to move to North Andover.’”

As the audience chuckled at the comment and local North Andover officials cheered the comment, Stapczynski read one more.

“My wife must have written this one,” he said. “‘I think we need a new town manager. The current one is only adequate.’”

— Dustin Luca