The Andover Select Board unanimously approved a series of traffic-calming measures aimed at improving safety on Elm Street at its meeting Monday, as well as adding “No Parking” restrictions for a 180-foot section on the east side of Essex Street. The new parking restrictions will run from 70 Essex Street to the entrance of Dundee Park.
MassDOT estimates 7,500 vehicles travel on Elm Street each day. The street has been the scene of several car-versus-pedestrian accidents, including a crash in April that killed a 78-year-old woman.
Among the changes drivers can expect to see on Elm Street:
- Curb “bump outs” that give pedestrians a better view before crossing the street and serve as a “visual pinch point” for drivers.
- Crosswalk realignments.
- Flashing beacons similar to the ones on the campus of Phillips Academy at the intersections of Elm and Whittier and Elm and Walnut Streets.
- New signs.
- Changing the yield sign to a stop sign on the Whittier Street approach to Elm Street.
Previously on Andover News: Ending The Nightmare On Elm Street
Board OKs Capital Improvement Plan
The select board unanimously approved Town Manager Andrew Flanagan’s capital improvement plan, which includes $24.5 million in spending for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2023. The select board will review and approve individual projects within the plan.
“This is really a starting point of the CIP,” Clerk Annie Gilbert said. “We’re not saying ‘We’re done.’ This is just the start of the process.”
More coverage on Andover News: Select Board Approves 5.9 Property Tax Hike For Homeowners
The budget covers improvements and maintenance to town and school properties and is culled from the $34.2 million in requests from Town of Andover department heads. Funding for the budget includes $2.9 million from the general fund reserve, $1.9 million from free cash, $4.9 million in borrowing, $1.4 million from special dedicated funds and $13.4 million from the Water & Sewer Enterprise Funds.
In addition to the requests for the next fiscal year, the capital improvement fund includes projections of future capital improvement needs through FY 2028. Final approval of the capital improvement plan would come at Annual Town Meeting beginning May 1, 2023.
The 2024 budget recommends borrowing $4.9 million, including $1.1 million for major school projects. Those projects including $600,000 for a turf field at Bancroft Elementary School and repairs and maintenance at Andover High School, South Elementary School and West Middle School. The remainder of the $4.9 million would go to replacing a fire engine and public works vehicles, improvements at town parks and playgrounds and improvements at Old Town Hall and Memorial Hall Library.
Dog Days of December
Town Clerk Austin Simko said the town is switching over to a new online system for dog license renewals, which are happening now. Dog owners with a valid email address on file with the town should have already received an email. Those who don’t can expect a mailing from the clerk’s office.
“You can still do it on paper,” Simko said. “We’re still mailing things out, so no one is going to get missed.”
The deadline to renew your dog’s license is Jan. 31. More info.
In other business:
Monday’s meeting was held at the Sanborn Elementary School. “It’s 60 years old, but you couldn’t tell because we’ve had so many wonderful capital improvements from the town of Andover,” Principal Carolyn Fawcett said in welcoming comments to the board. Despite being the smallest school in the district, there are 30 different languages spoken at Sanborn.
Also on Monday:
- During the public comment portion of the meeting, the board heard from Ellen Townsend, who has been working on food insecurity issues in Andover. Nearly one in five school-aged children in Andover are food insecure, and 53 percent of Andover’s food insecure families are not receiving assistance.
- Approved a five percent increase for Andover Fire Rescue’s ambulance billing rates, which had not been updated since 2012.
- Approved a $10.8 million bond anticipation note to be issued on Thursday to fund projects already approved by town meeting. The rate for the borrowing is 2.76 percent, according to Assistant Town Manager Patrick Lawlor.
- Conducted a closed-door, executive session to discuss the purchase, exchange, lease or value of real property.
- Monday’s meeting was the last scheduled select board for the year. The board’s next meeting is scheduled for Jan. 9 at 7 p.m.
Video of the Dec. 12 select board meeting from Andover TV:
0:00:10: Call to order
0:01:01: Communications & Liaison Reports
0:06:16: Citizens Petitions and Presentations
0:15:06: 3rd reading and approval of Tax Classification
0:37:45: 2nd reading of Capital Improvement Program
0:51:57: Ambulance Billing Rates
1:05:53: Bond Anticipation Note
1:07:38: Traffic Rules Amendment
1:18:46: Consent Agenda
1:19:50: Adjourn public meeting and go into executive session