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Town Yard Project Fails at Town Meeting

Selectmen and Finance Committee members supported the withdrawal of the article asking for $18 million for a new Town Yard.

Andover voters narrowly defeated an article asking for over $18 million for a new Town Yard at the start of the Annual Town Meeting Monday night at the Andover High School field house.

Despite the time taken by the Town Yard Task Force to propose a new facility at Campanelli Drive, the majority of members on both the Board of Selectmen and Finance Committee supported the withdrawal of the article during the meeting. They cited many reasons for wanting to withdraw the article, with the high cost of the land purchase being the main reason.

Voters chose not to withdraw the article but discussed it. However, the project failed to gain two-thirds of voters, with 181 in favor and 137 opposed.

Selectmen and Finance Committee members that supported withdrawing the project all agreed that the yard needs to be replaced but felt that they were paying too high of a premium on the 15 or so acres where the new Town Yard was supposed to sit. While the plot went for $1.6 million in 2007, owners are now asking $3.5 million for the same piece of land. 

Voters also approved the $146 million fiscal 2013 budget, which included $2.02 million for various capital projects, or large, one-time expenses, and $232,000 to put in the town's stabilization fund, or savings account. The town's operating budget is $138.78 million. 

Town Meeting continues tonight at 7 p.m. at the field house.

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