Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


May 15, 2013

Now what? Officials ponder next move for Town Yard

Green light, meanwhile, for water system work, Reichhold land deal


Vispoli said now it’s his board’s responsibility to provide one or two possible solutions.

“We need some more time,” he said. “We still have everything on the table, but the focus has to be on the cost piece of it.”

Reichhold property

Selectmen will also have their hands full with the next steps necessary to complete the purchase of the Reichhold property on Lowell Junction Road.

Town Meeting authorized selectmen to apply for land grants to raise up to $550,000 to buy the final three parcels of the one-contaminated site, which has undergone a cleanup.

The approval was the latest in a series of steps toward converting the property to a recreational facility. The town had previously raised $1.3 million to buy 11.49 acres of the former industrial site at 71 and 77 Lowell Junction Road.

Unofficial designs presented at Town Meeting showed the potential for two baseball diamonds and two soccer fields to be built on the site.

While Stapczynski said a 27,000-square-foot warehouse on the property will be used to store public works vehicles off-season, the rest of the site is not suited for a town yard because of winding roads that have weight restrictions, among other problems. In addition, he said, the town is not allowed to store salt or sand on the site.

He said it will cost $2.7 million to convert the site into ballfields, but that won’t happen soon.

“We will hold the land for years to come,” he said.

Flood monitoring

Town Meeting’s overwhelming support for spending $60,000 on a stream gauge to measure water levels in the Shawsheen River surprised even the main proponent. But Washington Park Drive resident J. Barry Mahoney, who submitted the citizens’ request, said voters showed that they understood the plight he and his neighbors face, even though town officials opposed the proposal. The money will cover operation of the gauge for four years.

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