Ayer residents still hesitant, blocking Vicksburg Sq. rehab

There are 10 comments on the Nashoba Publishing story from Nov 5, 2010, titled Ayer residents still hesitant, blocking Vicksburg Sq. rehab. In it, Nashoba Publishing reports that:

Initial "vision sessions" wrapped up for the four Devens communities of Devens, Ayer, Shirley and Harvard on Saturday.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Nashoba Publishing.

Reasonable Ayer Citizen

Boston, MA

#1 Nov 10, 2010
Ayer residents need to get off their soap box, stop blocking this, and allow Devens to rezone and re purpose these buildings on Devens.
Crank Blogger

Boston, MA

#2 Nov 10, 2010
Why? This is all about bad planning and having no vision. Why support a flawed product and process? Ayer has it exactly right.
Disappointed

AOL

#3 Nov 10, 2010
What exactly is Ayer's problem? Why do the townspeople not allow Devens to grow and run itself.
I hope that the Devens residents remember how Ayer has treated them, and use Harvard and Shirley's business's when needed.
AyerDad

Bedford, MA

#4 Nov 10, 2010
"In Ayer, concerns harkening back to last year's Town Meeting bubbled to the surface again."
This is not something that I have followed closely. Can anyone shed some light on this for me? What are the concerns? Thanks.
Curiouser

New York, NY

#5 Nov 11, 2010
AyerDad wrote:
"In Ayer, concerns harkening back to last year's Town Meeting bubbled to the surface again."
This is not something that I have followed closely. Can anyone shed some light on this for me? What are the concerns? Thanks.
The primary concern is housing, housing and more housing, all of which will be within the boundaries of Ayer once the land is returned to the host towns in 2033.
Ayer has a large # of permitted but as yet undeveloped housing lots - something in the range of 400 to 500 units.
The Reuse plan approved by the 4 host towns in 1993 and enacted by the Legislature in 1994 intends that Devens be developed as a commercial industrial center for businesses of varying types.
The Vicksburg Square area is zoned for innovation and technology, often now referred to as "incubator businesses".
Many in Ayer do not feel MassDevelopment has made efforts to attract those types of businesses to Devens, let alone VS.
Two examples:
When UMass Lowell was looking for a place to locate its new nano-technology center why didn't MassDev work with the Governor's office and other state officials to promote Devens as the site?
Another likely use might be to convert the buildings to a community college or satellite campus of the state university system which now includes all the former state colleges.
Mt. Wachusett already offers courses on Devens. Why not enlarge that offering to a full campus called Devens Community College?
Both these ideas were proposed to MassDev by Ayer as potential uses for VS but apparently never received consideredation.
Can anyone explain why?
Crank Blogger

Framingham, MA

#6 Nov 11, 2010
Curiouser nailed it. AND in order to go forward we DO need to explain how & why MassDev failed otherwise we are looking at continued failure. Devens is a gift lets use it wisely.
Local citizen

Bedford, MA

#7 Nov 11, 2010
The other major concern is the growth of retail outlets. Once Devens had the PX (still there ?) now there is a gas station, hotel and some other stores. More stores, less people shopping in Ayer.
Didn't one VS proposal call for store fronts in one or more of the buildings ?.
I believe that Devens will eventually become the 352nd. town. Ayer needs a long term plan to deal with that time.
AyerDad

Bedford, MA

#8 Nov 11, 2010
Thanks for the additional details. I'd like to see Devens used (by myself anyway)as something more than a cut through to Route 2.
Ayer Comments

Falmouth, MA

#9 Nov 13, 2010
Local citizen wrote:
The other major concern is the growth of retail outlets. Once Devens had the PX (still there ?) now there is a gas station, hotel and some other stores. More stores, less people shopping in Ayer.
Didn't one VS proposal call for store fronts in one or more of the buildings ?.
I believe that Devens will eventually become the 352nd. town. Ayer needs a long term plan to deal with that time.
As I recall the DOA built a brand new commissary - not sure about a PX - the year before the base closed to the tune of 10 million or more. Two years later it closed despite efforts (?) to convert it to a locally owned supermarket. Not sure why
As things stand now there can be no direct competition with local businesses in any of the towns. I don't think what is on Devens now impacts shopping in Ayer. I've only been to Devens Grille once but frequent Tiny's and have been to The Cottage and O'Hanlon's many times. I never use Devens as a means of getting to Route 2.
I do not think Devens can be its own town as it simply does not have the infrastruture or services to survive.
When it is ready for disposition again I'd like to see all Ayer's land returned to us. This will bring much tax revenue to the town with very little impact on our support services because Ayer in the only one of the three towns that is already equipped to provide all services needed to support the entire Devens community.
inquiry

Acton, MA

#10 Nov 22, 2010
Reasonable Ayer Citizen wrote:
Ayer residents need to get off their soap box, stop blocking this, and allow Devens to rezone and re purpose these buildings on Devens.
Why? Isn't this property going to eventually be reurned to Ayer? If that's the case, shouldn't residents be clear on how the properties will be used? Without a clear plan there will never be agreement. Am I missing something here?

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