LETTER: Resident Kevin MacDonald Says Town Should Look At Town-Owned Land On Salem St. For New School, New Ice Rink

Dear Editor,

Please find the enclosed attachment of the documents about the eminent domain land taking on Salem Street in Wilmington, Mass.

The Eminent Domain Land Taking was in 1972 and recorded in 1973. You will see that several families had their properties taken for the disclosed purpose of building a school.

The approximate land area is 73 acres some of which are wetlands, however, not all the land is a wetland. The property has two large frontage points that are fronted on Salem Street and significant portions that are upland.

It should be noted that when land is taken for a specific purpose through eminent domain it must be used for that purpose or the Town faces liability. In this case, the extent of financial damages could be enormous.

You will notice the prominent names of Wilmington officials that have signed the document thus endorsing its purpose.

Having worked in the construction field for many years, including the site work and excavation sector, I want to mention that my experience includes many sites that have constructed buildings and projects that have involved wetlands replication. I can’t think of any sites that were afforded the luxury of having 73 acres to be able to work with. This amount of land affords the Town the possibility of bringing something truly special to the people of Wilmington, especially the children of the Town.

I believe that the people of Wilmington deserve to have their town officials take a serious look at this site. The people of Wilmington deserve to have a legitimate effort put into testing and qualifying the property through proper engineering investigation and the presentation of facts and findings which should include the possibility of the replication of wetlands if necessary. It is my understanding that if any wetlands are to be filled there would have to be double compensation for the amount of replication. The amount of land on Salem Street far exceeds the amount needed should my assessment be confirmed.

A clear example of replication would be the Palmer Way subdivision off of Middlesex Avenue. This is one of the nicest subdivisions in our town. This, however, is for private purposes. The Salem Street property would be for public purposes and should be investigated in a manner that was thorough and comprehensive.

As I have stated before, I believe that the children of Wilmington could benefit from a hockey and skating program that could be integrated with their education and personal development. I believe the Salem Street property could address this program’s needs. I also think that there could be a public-private partnership that could be formed that would provide financing for construction and provide private professional experienced superintendence for running the arenas and programs. A clear example of this would be the Essex Agriculture High School and its arenas.

With the soaring cost of college, it would be nice if the youth of Wilmington, both boys and girls, could have their skills developed from the early age of preschool in skating arenas that abutted an early education facility. What a great thing it would be to develop a powerhouse hockey program that would bring championship titles to Wilmington while providing developmental opportunities that would lead to college scholarships and future success for our students.

The Town has many needs including the need for senior housing and the need for financial relief from excessive taxes on its citizens. I believe it would be wise for town officials to explore and work to find funding sources for the development of an early education facility that was funded as much as possible through the sale of some town-owned land along with the MSBA reimbursement funds. I believe one of these sites could be the sale of the Wildwood School site. It would be nice if the sale of this site could produce a significant portion of funding for an early education facility on Salem Street while having the Wildwood site developed for senior affordable housing. It is my belief that the developers could obtain State and Federal funds for the development of senior housing and the remediation of the site thus increasing the town’s value for the property should the people of Wilmington choose to sell it and invest the proceeds in an early education facility on Salem Street.

I would exhort town officials to intervene and give its citizens and youth the relief it needs. Please consider that there are alternative ways to address the needs of the Town that would provide long-term widespread benefits to the community without taxing them to death. The people of Wilmington deserve better.

Sincerely,

Kevin MacDonald

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