Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


November 15, 2012

Chairman pushes for Town Yard move

Dept heads: Current site is viable

Andover residents may vote this spring on a vision for how the Town Yard site on Lewis Street could be redeveloped.

Former Town Yard Task Force Chairman Rick Feldman is pushing selectmen to bring a Town Yard plan before voters at the 2013 April Town Meeting, saying if they don’t take action this year, it may be years before any solution is found.

“The clock is ticking to make a decision,” said Feldman. “We’re now in November. I worry if we wait another year, other priorities -- all meaningful -- are going to take the front seat. There’s nothing sexy about a town yard.”

Projects to build a new Ballardvale Fire Station and a public preschool building are in the planning stages.

Selectmen Alex Vispoli said he expects the town to come to Town Meeting with a plan to rezone the area that would outline the type of development that would be allowed on the site if the Town Yard moves. But he said the town has three options, including building a new Town Yard on the site of the current facility.

Vispoli said that since selectmen became more involved in the process, they have heard for the first time from the heads of Public Works and Plant & Facilities that a new Town Yard could be created on the existing site. Joe Piantedosi, the former Plant & Facilities director, always argued that the site was too small for the town’s needs.

“We can build on that site and we can build an acceptable solution,” said Vispoli.

Andover could also swap the Lewis Street land the Town Yard sits on for another piece of property. This would allow the Lewis Street land near the downtown to be redeveloped and the Town Yard to be moved out of the downtown area. The Town Yard is at the bottom of Lewis Street, and abuts the Andover commuter rail on Railroad Street. Among other functions, the Town Yard is where the town fuels and repairs its vehicles and stores road sand and salt.

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