EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

May 5, 2013

Selectmen to continue review of school proposals

NORTH ANDOVER — The selectmen are expected to continue reviewing proposals for the former Bradstreet School tomorrow night.

The town received eight proposals for the now-vacant 40 Main St. building a few weeks ago. At their April 22 meeting, the selectmen eliminated two plans that would have required the town to contribute thousands of dollars of its Community Preservation Act money.

The board will take a look at three proposals from the Heartstone Realty Corp. tomorrow night. All of these plans call for demolishing Bradstreet School, which closed in 2005. Two of the plans would provide mixed residential and commercial space, while the other would have businesses only.

Heartstone has offered to buy the school for $300,000 in all of its proposals.

The other three proposals will be discussed at a later meeting. Selectman Tracy Watson said the board will probably not make a decision tomorrow night.

The first time the town sent out a request for proposals, there was only one response, from A Coalition for a Better Acre. That nonprofit group offered to buy the Bradstreet School site for $300,000, but also wanted the town to pay $720,000 of its Community Preservation Act money toward building affordable housing and retail space.

The selectmen rejected that idea.

No matter which plan the selectmen accept, Watson said she has a “very positive feeling” about the future of the site. Developing the Bradstreet School property will enhance the rest of the downtown, she said.

The board is also expected to discuss the recommendations of the Community Preservation Committee. The latter panel recently voted in favor of spending $462,000 toward constructing three homes for veterans at 138 High St.

The Community Preservation Committee also voted to recommend $30,000 to restore gravestones at the Second Burying Ground; $904,000 to restore McEvoy Field on Route 125; $300,000 to construct athletic fields at the Town Farm on Dale Street; $397,000 to refurbish the Johnson Cottage and Parson Barnard House; $437,000 to restore the slate roof on the Stevens mansion; $130,000 to restore the foundation, walls and roof of the Scholfield Mill, where the North Andover Thrift Shop is located; $7,500 to get the Ridgewood Cemetery included on the National Registry of Historical Places; $500,000 to purchase property owned by Albert Manzi Jr. off Foster Street for open space; and $30,000 for administrative costs.

The Finance Committee voted April 23 to recommend favorable action on all of those proposals at the annual Town Meeting, which will take place May 21 at 7 p.m. at North Andover High School.

Article 21 of the Town Meeting warrant includes the recommendations of the Community Preservation Committee.

The selectmen will meet at 7 p.m. on the second floor of Town Hall.

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