Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

News

October 10, 2013

Two sites eyed in final Ballardvale fire station plan

Alternate site near South School proposed

(Continued)

One problem, however, is its location, as the driveway would be at the top of a hill and on a corner, which could create traffic challenges should a station be put there, the committee members contend.

To improve that situation, officials are considering the possibility of picking up land adjacent to the site, including two vacant lots currently in foreclosure and a small, single-family home at the front of the property, according to Mansfield.

Doing so would give the entire site an added 117 feet of frontage along Andover Street, according to a map of the proposal.

Putting that deal together would come with a price tag, however, as the purchase of all four pieces of land combined could cost the town about $750,000, the committee estimated at its meeting.

In the case of the South School site, prior discussions have suggested the town and School Department would swap land to relocate a baseball diamond that currently sits where the fire station is being proposed.

Since the location was first put in the public spotlight, neighbors and abutters to the school have been vocal opponents of using the site, pointing to concerns over safety and noise for the South School community.

In a way, that makes the Reynolds Street proposal more enticing, according to Curtis.

“Where it’s located — location, location, location — being halfway between South School and the existing fire station, is a real asset,” Curtis said. “It sort of balances the two. We don’t want to move it out of Ballardvale, but we want to get it up to the corner.”

Using a prior grading scale that took into account site size, dimensions, access to major roads and more, the committee gave the proposal a score of 21.5 out of 25, while the South School site was given a perfect 25 of 25 score when it was previously graded.

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