ANDOVER — Drivers may be getting some relief at one of Andover’s busiest intersections, as redevelopment plans for the former town yard site are getting much attention this summer. Those plans include alleviating traffic congestion at the intersection near Depot Pizza.
The intersection is also near the Andover train stop on the MBTA's Haverhill line. Several roads — including Lewis, Pearson, Railroad, Essex and School streets — intersect there. The busy entrance and exit to Dundee Park is also there.
“Yes, there are plans to fix it,” Director of Planning Paul Materazzo said. “Plans have been developed with community input and DCI (the town’s consultant).”
Town officials said community input is very important as Materazzo and his redevelopment planning team — the Historic Mill District Task Force — are spending the summer hosting “coffee and conversation” events in town for residents and business owners to talk about the future of the now-empty former town yard site.
Four more of those events are planned and the public is encouraged to attend. Plans for the area are very preliminary and have not been approved, town officials said, but residents can view them and comment on them.
“We have just kicked off the coffees (events) and our plan is to include lunch events, evening and more formal public meetings during the evening hours, with the goal of providing ample opportunity for the community to participate and learn more about this project,” Materazzo said. “To date, the community meetings where this project has been discussed have been well attended, with great input from attendees.”
About 400 survey responses about the site’s redevelopment plans have already been received, town officials said. The final plans for the area are expected to be ready for the special Town Meeting in November.
“After a week of the survey being available, we have received over 400 responses,’’ Materazzo said. “The information from the community survey is great input and is reconfirming the information from what we have heard from the countless community meetings.’’
The town yard was long used by the Department of Public Works as the town looked for a new DPW location.
Finally, that happened as the town’s new Municipal Services Facility, a project 25 years in the making, opened last March on a 15-acre lot at 5 Campanelli Drive.
Redeveloping the area of the former town yard into an extension of downtown, which the Historic Mill District officials call “a vibrant and walkable place next to the MBTA train station,” is the town’s goal now, as are the plans to fix the intersection near Depot Pizza.