Supporters of developing the site usually talk about having multi-story buildings with stores on the ground floor and condos on the top floors.
“The objective is to get a vision set and then go out to the development community,” said Vispoli.
“We have to solve this problem. It’s been going on too long. I’ve been an advocate to redevelop that property, but it has to make economic sense, too,” said Vispoli. “It has to make sense for the taxpayer both long-term and short-term.”
Vispoli was against an idea two years ago to spend more than $20 million to buy a Dascomb Road site, and move the Town Yard near the Tewksbury line.
Different Town Yard Task Forces over the years have supported buying land at 5 Campanelli Drive, off River Road, and moving the Town Yard there. A proposal last year was to spend more than $3 million to buy the site and another $15 million to design and construct a new Town Yard. Officials tried to withdraw the article at Town Meeting, but residents asked for a vote. The idea, which did not have support of the selectmen or Finance Committee, failed by 68 votes.
Feldman wants to see the town move its Town Yard out of the downtown and away from residential developments. This would allow the downtown to expand. The town could then sell the land near the Andover MBTA commuter rail stop and collect tax money on the new homes and businesses created there.
“This is a long-term perspective, but that’s why you elect leaders, to make those decisions. It takes good leadership to make those decisions,” said Felman of developing the Lewis Street property. “That only can help the future of Andover. Andover isn’t going to expand to the south down Main Street. It isn’t going to expand to the east. The opportunity for [downtown] expansion is Lewis Street.
“I like to think they [selectmen] have all the information they need. These are hard decisions,” said Feldman.