Published in the July 22, 2015 edition


lynnfield_meeting_house_webLYNNFIELD — Current residents are being given the opportunity to potentially influence the future look of the town’s common.

The Planning Board is assessing a redesign of the historic green that was initially raised in the town’s Master Plan for the center back in 2000.

With the assistance of a study now underway by the state’s Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC), Planning Board member Alan Dresios told the selectmen that residents are invited to submit their ideas in writing.

Dresios added that residents may also bring their ideas directly to the MAPC by stopping by their booth at tonight’s Concert on the Common from 6-8 p.m. (rain date: Thursday, July 23).

The MAPC study is funded through a grant obtained by the Planning Board. This grant has included traffic counts and preliminary design work.

Dresios said ideas under consideration include: Closure of one of the streets around the common; limiting truck traffic; increasing police enforcement; no lights and more parking.

With the assistance of an independent body – the MAPC –Dresios said the Planning Board is trying to establish which changes residents would be comfortable with in the center because many “visions” for the center exist, although some are doable and others are not. Identifying cost-effective, workable solutions that have public support is a goal of the study for the Planning Board.

In addition to the MAPC presence at the concert, representatives will be meeting with local businesses during the day on Wednesday to get their input, Dresios told the board July 13.

Dresios said the “biggest reason” for the suggested potential closure of South Common Street would be to “create a larger green and define the historic graveyard” that is located beside Centre Farm.

This idea did not go over too well with Jason Kimball, who grew up in the house across the street from the Centre Congregational Church on Main Street and whose family members still reside there.

Kimball said the best idea is “called do nothing” to change the existing streets around the common. Serving as both the Veterans’ Services Agent for the town and as a member of Rotary, Kimball said he has been authorized to shut down South Common Street many times for events held on the common, such as the weekly summer concerts. Doing so has provided him with lots of practical experience about what occurs next.

“Every time we shut down South Common Street there is traffic that goes down to the ninth and eighth holes of Reedy Meadow Golf Course,” Kimball said.

Kimball also dispelled a myth that the 1714 Meeting House had been moved to its present location from another spot on the common.

Pointing out a passage from Wellman’s book about the town’s history, Kimball said, “It was South Common Street that had moved. South Common Street was closer to the Meeting House. The Meeting House is in its original spot and I see no reason to move it.”