Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

News

January 23, 2014

YMCA close to final OK

Planning Board approves $21M expansion

The Merrimack Valley YMCA is close to final approval for its $21 million expansion of its Andover/North Andover facility.

The nonprofit health club received the go-ahead from the Planning Board last week for its plans to more than double its 165 Haverhill St. facility from about 50,000 square feet to more than 100,000 square feet.

The Conservation Commission was expected to vote on the plan Tuesday night, but that meeting was postponed until tonight, Jan. 23, because of this week’s snowstorm.

If the Conservation Commission OKs the project, the expansion project is on target for a March 28 ground-breaking.

“This is a very exciting time for our organization,” Steve Ives, president and CEO of the Merrimack Valley YMCA said. “We are proud to be moving forward, for all the communities we serve, Andover, North Andover, Lawrence, Methuen and southern New Hampshire.”

The Andover/North Andover Y, along with facilities in Methuen and Lawrence, draws people from the entire region, he said.

There are currently 8,000 members who attend the Andover/North Andover facility, with more expected as the facility expands. The project is expected to wrap up in early 2015. Existing programs will remain open during construction, Ives said.

Conservation Commission agent Bob Douglas said the panel had asked for more information about drainage to “make sure the project meets water quality standards.”

Douglas said the expansion, along with new roads and parking lots, had created a lot of impervious surfaces so that runoff from the site could potentially get into the Shawsheen River. He said new projects are not allowed to create more runoff than is currently occurring, so the YMCA has had to devise filtration chambers and holding ponds that allow the water to more naturally filter into the ground rather than cause flash-flooding.

“They are putting parking in areas where it hasn’t gone before and have also proposed an access road for fire safety,” he said. Andover Director of Planning Paul Materazzo said there had been some issues for the Planning Board with the new facility hooking up to the town sewer line on Haverhill Street, but those have all been resolved.

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