EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

December 6, 2012

Economic Development Council wants people to notice North Andover

By Paul Tennant

---- — NORTH ANDOVER — When you’re headed north on Interstate 495 and you approach the exit for Route 114, the sign advises you that’s the way to get to Middleton.

But the sign makes no mention of North Andover, even though one must drive through several miles of this town before crossing the line into Middleton.

Members of the North Andover Economic Development Council are eager to change this omission. They want motorists on I-495 to know not only how to get to North Andover, but how to find the business district.

“I think we should have a good sign,” said Selectman Rosemary Connelly Smedile, a member of the council, which met Wednesday night to discuss ways of promoting the town.

Smedile, who operates a local real estate business, also recommended that a sign be placed at Waverly Road and Route 114 to direct drivers to businesses on and near Main Street.

Curt Bellevance, the town’s director of community development, said he will discuss a sign or signs on I-495 that show the way to North Andover to officials of the state Department of Transportation.

In another matter, council members said they do not want A-frame signs on sidewalks in front of stores and other businesses.

Such signs obstruct pedestrians and detract from the appearance of the downtown, members said.

“We want to attract people,” council member Linda McHugh said. Smedile said North Andover should strive to have a downtown with a look similar to Newburyport’s, where businesses often display flower boxes in their windows.

Bellevance and others pointed out North Andover actually has a bylaw that forbids A-frame signs, although it doesn’t get strict enforcement.

The council urged the town to enforce the bylaw.

Council members also discussed how to reach leaders of corporations to tell them about the benefits of locating in North Andover. Smedile suggested highlighting the town’s image as a “green” community, with a strong recycling program and a waste-to-energy plant.