WEEK AHEAD: Selectmen discussing Center School reuse, Island Grove nighttime closure Monday night; Abington birthday beer to be unveiled; ConCom discusses unpermitted wetlands work

Selectmen tonight will hear from a consultant charged with thinking about how the town can redevelop the Center School property. The FDR-era building was one of Abington’s primary school buildings until 2016, when the final students left the building. It’s sat empty while the town has deliberated what to do with it, as well as its twin, the North School, which closed a few years earlier. According to the results of a resident survey that will be presented tonight, Abington residents say their two biggest concerns with any redevelopment plan is “strain on the drinking water supply” and “traffic.” And their top two priorities for the site is maintaining the “wooded areas between the site and abutting properties” (39%) and the “wooded areas between the school and the field” (33%). Town Meeting a few years back split up the hillside school property, and Murphy Field, a small recreational space located down the hill off Washington Street. Any reuse plan would only impact the school site, and not the little-used field. 

Thirty percent of respondents said the land should be used for affordable senior housing, but 29 percent said the building should be demolished and the land turned into open space. The Affordable Housing Trust is spearheading the Center School reuse project. Selectmen Chairman Alex Bezanson said he understands the concerns residents have, particularly with the traffic issues in that surrounding neighborhood. “On the other hand we really need senior housing,” he said. One possible next step is for the town to issue a Request For Proposal, which would invite developers to come forward with ideas for the site. Those ideas could include rehabilitating the existing structure, razing it and replacing it, or a combination of the two. 


Should Island Grove be closed to all visitors from dusk to dawn? The Board of Selectmen is considering just that. Police Chief David Del Papa told the board earlier this month that officers on multiple occasions have encountered “unruly” groups in the park. Park staff have had issues the past few years with people swimming in the pool after hours, and vandalizing picnic tables and other town property. “We can’t have people swimming in the pool unsupervised,” said Board Chairman Alex Bezanson. “It’s a tragedy waiting to happen.” Del Papa and Fire Chief John Nuttall are expected to discuss the possible closure at tonight’s board meeting. 


Abington has been old enough to drink for a while. Now the brewmasters at 10th District have partnered with Abington Celebrates to put out a special concoction to celebrate Abington’s 310th birthday. A public tasting is scheduled for Thursday at 10th District’s taproom at 748 Brockton Ave. Doors open at 4 p.m., with the unveiling scheduled for 6 p.m. 10th District describes the beer thusly: “Brewed with Irish malt and hopped with Hersbucker and Saaz,  this fruity and slightly spicy lager will be available in a limited-edition specially designed can, inspired by Abington’s rich history.”


The Conservation Commission Tuesday is expected to discuss an enforcement order leveled against a property owner who was found bulldozing a path through wetlands near Ames Nowell State Park. Last month, town and state conservation officials stopped the work, which was taking place on a 5-acre piece of privately owned land located west of Hancock Street that runs down to Cleveland Pond. Commission Chairman Paul Bunker said the enforcement order requires the landowner to restore damage to a pair of wetlands. The parcel is one of a couple pieces of land around the northern edge of Cleveland Pond that is not part of the state park. 



Board of Health, 6 p.m., Town Hall. Agenda includes a discussion about occupancy certification regulations.

Board of Selectmen, 6:30 p.m. Town Hall. Agenda includes a discussion about activity at 43 Highland Ave, an update from veterans services officer Adam Gunn, discussions about closing Island Grove at dusk, a landfill closure RFP, the reuse of Center School, and permission for a charity bike ride.


Board of Library Trustees, 7 p.m., Town Library. Agenda includes the director’s report, building and program updates, job postings, and library policies.

Conservation Commission, 6:30 p.m., Town Hall. Agenda includes discussions about the new Beaver Brook Playground, the Summer Street 40B, 0 Hancock Street, 75 Niles Street, 151 Dorsey Street, and Board reorganization.

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