By Paul Tennant
---- — NORTH ANDOVER — The town now owns an additional 14 acres where people can hike, watch birds and other wildlife or enjoy other forms of passive recreation.
The purchase of the land at 623 Osgood St. was completed yesterday afternoon after lengthy negotiations between Town Counsel Thomas Urbelis and attorney John Smolak, who represents the Osgood Street Realty Trust.
Deanna Ousler, a trustee of the Osgood Street Realty Trust, will continue to reside in her house at the site. She also retains a lot of about an acre.
“We have a done deal,” selectmen Chairman William Gordon told The Eagle-Tribune yesterday. Gordon said he received notification that the sale had been recorded at the Northern Essex Registry of Deeds at 2:52 p.m. yesterday.
The selectmen were all set to approve the deal Thursday morning, but Urbelis told them there were still some unresolved issues, including a question of liability and the status of an easement running through the property.
Selectman Rosemary Connelly Smedile said the board could not discuss negotiations in public, so the selectmen went into executive session for a half hour. When they readmitted the public, the selectmen voted to authorize Gordon to sign the purchase and sale agreement on their behalf as soon as Urbelis and Smolak worked out the sticking points.
As of 6 p.m. Thursday, a final agreement still appeared to elude them, Gordon said. Urbelis and Smolak could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Deanna Ousler and her late husband, Dr. George Ousler, an orthopedic surgeon who practiced at Lawrence General and Holy Family hospitals, lived on the property for many years. Dr. Ousler, who specialized in back and hand surgery, died at 73 in 2007.
The June 12 Town Meeting approved spending up to $1.4 million for the 14 acres.
The money will come from the Community Preservation Fund, which is financed by a 3 percent surtax on local real estate taxes, and state contributions.
The land on Osgood Street joins several other properties the town has acquired to preserve open space, including the Stevens Estate and Weir Hill. These purchases have been made possible by the Community Preservation Act, which North Andover accepted in 2001.