City Council Approves Contract; Beckett Green on Fast Track to Break Ground Next Spring

Dana Totman, Avesta Housing Development Corporation

Dana Totman, Avesta Housing Development Corporation

By Carol McCracken (Post # 461)

In a special meeting last night, the City Council unanimously approved a purchase and sale agreement between the City and Avesta Housing Development Company for .73 of an acre of the former Adams School on Moody Street. The purchase price is $250,000.

About three years ago, Avesta Housing resonded to an RFP put out by the city to develop the former Adams School. Avesta won the bid to redevelop the property; no one else responded to the RFP. The original plan called for the development of 40 condominium units. However, due to the poor housing market and the drying up of resources, the entire project was scaled back. Several months ago, Avesta scaled back the project to only 16 condominium units.

Public comment before the unanimous vote focused on parking concerns, playground concerns and the price of the property. Matt Thayer, co-chair of the Adams Reuse Committee said this project looks quite different from what he originally saw. He objected to the lack of notice to the neigborhood about these changes. Tim Flanagan objected to the 1 parking place per unit policy. “Homeowners in the area don’t want this place to be so dense there is no parking available,” he said. Councilor Cheryl Leeman was empathetic to the parking issues expressed, noting that these are units with 2 and 3 bedrooms each. There are no one bedroom units in this project as were in the original plans. Councilor Kevin Donoghue was not empathetic, dismissing the parking concern as part of urban living that everyone has to deal with. (Donoghue has off street parking on the Hill where he lives.)

Councilor David Marshall who spoke extensively in favor of the plan as presented to the council said that as much as he’d like to go back and start all over again, it’s not going to happen.

According to Dana Totman, director, Avesta Housing, the proposed plan will go before the planning board next fall. On that schedule, construction of Beckett Green should begin next spring.