ANDOVER — Selectmen unanimously voted last night to officially remove two Town Meeting articles to advance a proposal to build a new Ballardvale fire substation.
At last night's meeting, the board voted to recommend approval for 28 articles at this year's Town Meeting, which will start on April 30.
The board held off on voting on an article to purchase 15 acres at 5 Campanelli Drive to build a new town public works yard. The $18.3 million proposal includes the design and construction of the new facility.
An second article calls for purchasing an additional 1.5 acres at 65 River Road for $250,000 as part of the project. The board also chose not to make a recommendation on this article and entered into executive session to discuss negotiation strategy to buy both properties.
The complete Town Meeting warrant is expected to be signed by the board next week.
The withdrawal of the fire station articles was recommended by the Ballardvale Fire Station Building Committee, which has been working on the project since November 2008. In a letter to selectmen dated March 12, the group asked for more direction from selectmen in moving forward with the project.
The committee's top choice is to build a new station on the South Elementary School's baseball field at the corner of Andover and Woburn streets. But the group is also considering buying a private lot at 270 Andover St., across the street from the field.
Two warrant articles on the station were proposed for this year's meeting — one asking for funds for design and engineering work and the other to purchase 270 Andover St. If the school field was selected, the committee would have recommended withdrawing the article to purchase the private land.
Selectmen Chairman Brian Major said the board will meet after Town Meeting to talk about the next steps for the project.
Multiple board members acknowledged at the meeting that they appreciated the work the Ballardvale Fire Station Building Committee has put into the proposal.
Selectman Paul Salafia said the work of such a committee takes a lot of time and energy.
"All that information that they gathered will be used," Salafia said. "It wasn't in vain."
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