Published in the November 30, 2020 edition.
By MARK SARDELLA
WAKEFIELD — Hoping that the fourth time is the charm, the town will once again try to sell a vacant parcel of land at 124 Green St. in Stoneham that is owned by the town of Wakefield. The town has thrice previously attempted to sell the land — in 2006, 2009 and 2011.
Town Administrator Stephen P. Maio reminded the Town Council last week that when the town had last tried to sell the property in 2011, a request for proposals was put out with a minimum bid of $150,000. But there were no bids on the land. Maio said that it was rumored that Stoneham had been less than cooperative at the time and that may have had an impact on interest in the property.
But Maio said last week that he has learned that Stoneham is now eager to have the land developed and on the tax rolls. Wakefield would also like to sell the property and use the proceeds for various needs.
The Green Street land was originally acquired by the town of Wakefield in 1903 for water purposes and once served as the site of a large water tank when it was needed to supply water for the West Side. The tank has been gone for at least 30 years, and the land is no longer needed for water purposes because of the town’s connection to the MWRA.
Maio said the he has checked with various town departments and they see no further use that the town would have for the property. He recommended that the town put the property out to bid again with no minimum proposal.
When the Green Street land was first offered for sale in 2006, the town had a Board of Selectmen. Maio was a member of the board that year, along with chairman John Carney, James Good, Al Turco, John Encarnacao, Betsy Sheeran and Phyllis Hull. Although five bid packages were picked up at the time, no one submitted a bid on the land.
The town again advertised the property for sale in 2009. That year, the selectmen rejected the only two bids that were submitted. The high bid came in at $186,000. Maio was by then Town Administrator and pointed out that the Stoneham Board of Assessors had valued the land at $229,000. Maio told the selectmen in 2009 that he felt that the bids were too low and he recommended rejecting them. Maio pointed to positive signs in the economy and the real estate market. He recommended waiting before trying to sell the parcel again.
The town next attempted to sell the land in 2011, again without success.
The Town Council last week approved putting the land out to bid once more, this time with no minimum proposal. According to 2020 Stoneham Assessors’ records, the current total assessed value of the property is $249,000.