Poll: Selectmen Discuss Greenwood Property in Closed Session

Take our poll on whether you agree with the Historical Commission's decision to invoke a delay to demolition of the former school on Greenwood Avenue.


One night after the voted to delay the Greenwood Avenue condos for nine months, the Selectmen met in executive session to discuss legal action that has already been filed against the project.

The Selectmen made no comment on their private discussion last Wednesday about the town's legal strategies on a lawsuit filed against the project.

Groom Construction is proposing to buy the old Middle School building from the town and tear it down. It would replace it with a 41-unit condominum building.

Some neighbors oppose the proposal and have hired attorneys. One of the attorneys, Carl Goodman, has filed a suit, challenging the zoning bylaw that the town enacted to make the project possible.  

The Historical Commission voted for the delay in hopes of finding a way to preserve at least some of the building. 

Developers argued that the old deteriorating building has limited historical significance left in the building and to preserve it would be at a cost much more than to demolish it. 

mary curtis July 30, 2012 at 11:01 PM
when we vote at town meeting then we should start building the historical group is becoming more a problem to the taxpayers get rid of the eyesore and give us a beautiful building mary curtis
Uncle Leo July 30, 2012 at 11:05 PM
Good Point Whisky. Doanes is worth saving, even though its been turned into the Mos Eisley Cantina. We dropped the ball on Paul's Market. Where was the HC then?!?
Uncle Leo July 30, 2012 at 11:08 PM
Mary, punctuation please...I'm on the edge as it is anyway.
Whisky July 30, 2012 at 11:41 PM
I remember Paul's being BUILT! And coming down. I can almost see it from my perch on my porch right now! I also just returned from a bunch of $1 Oysters, so yes, Save Doanes!
Whisky July 30, 2012 at 11:42 PM
... edited by paul moran
Archie Bunker July 30, 2012 at 11:56 PM
Dones, if your renovation of Phillips Park includes astro turf and night lights forget about it! The neighbors do not want the traffic and activity late into the evening and neither would you if you lived here! The astro turf field exudes fumes and rubbery smell on a hot day as the sun reflects off of it, add a slight on-shore breeze and the neighbors are breathing toxic fumes! Call me a NIMBY and then tell me you would put up with it!
Citizen Swamp July 31, 2012 at 02:18 AM
AB, I'll call you an "ill informed" NIMBY. CS
Connie July 31, 2012 at 12:46 PM
As I have stated numerous times on this subject, as a Greenwood Avenue resident and being directly affected by this change, I whole heartedly agree Myron! Let the neighbors spend their money on frivolous lawsuits, but in the end it's going to cost the town approximately (if you can approximate attorney's fees) $70,00-$80,00 to fight this. Waste of our taxpayers money!! The Historical Commission should have NO say over this building. It was voted down in Town Meetiing. I too was there and voted against it! Move on, Swampscott!
Uncle Leo July 31, 2012 at 01:00 PM
Archie, just have Edith shut the windows and then get you a beer! Actually I'd probably prefer the turf football field but if push came to shove, I'd be happy with a remodeled Phillips Park without turf too. The whole park needs to be leveled and re-designed by a landscape architect. We need new benches, new backstops for the baseball diamonds, new storage buildings, and new trees planted around the perimeter. Parking situation also needs to be improved as that back parking lot is not used efficiently. With the exception of the fieldhouse addition, that whole park has seen no improvements in probably 50 years.
I believe that the movie set for Grownups 2 should be declared a historic monument. They should not be allowed to tear down a part of Swampscott history.
I think that the football field should be covered with cashmere.
Liz July 31, 2012 at 04:49 PM
aahh the Historical Commission; this is the same group that told my neighbor not to take down the 100 yr chestnut tree in his yard even though it was diseased...it fell down on it's own last winter and missed the house and the family in it by inches by the Grace of God no one was hurt. They are not qualified to make decisions...
jaymo phillips July 31, 2012 at 07:05 PM
Bety, Historical Commission is not in control of decisions like that. No way they made that call.
pamela boucher July 31, 2012 at 07:51 PM
i think the building should be torn down and condos/townhouses being built there and more revenue will go to swampscott. i graduated from swampscott high in 1975 from there. But we all have to move on ok Right now it is sitting th ere and no money for swampscott until everything gets built up there ok
Alex July 31, 2012 at 07:52 PM
Almost anything has some "history" so just saying "historical building" is pointless: which "history" exactly is related to this building?
EM August 01, 2012 at 01:33 AM
The comments above reflect a lot of ignorance and are a misinterpretation of what the Historical Commission actually did. If you had attended the meeting you would have heard the plea by Jean Reardon asking if some vestige of the school could be saved and incorporated into the new development, whether it be one of the ornate entrances, the cupola, the stone wall in front of the property, or a section of the building. Why does development have to preclude recognition of the history of the school, when 6 generations of Swampscototians when through this building? Why is it necessary to wipe any evidence of what the school has meant off the face of the earth? The delay gives the developer a chance to consider these things, and not necessarily at the develper's expense. What Swampscott High graduate earning a living as a carpenter would not want to volunteer time to help restore the cupola if it could be re-erected on the new structure? What Swampscott High graduate earning a living as a mason would not want to help contribute to the preservation of the stone wall that borders the property, and on which a plaque could be placed indicating that the school was there, given by the generous benefactors who had a passion for the future of education in our town?
EM August 01, 2012 at 01:33 AM
The Historical Commission's arguements were very thoughtful and reasoned, and the commission is an extremely well intentioned dedicated group of volunteers with no self-interest. They have a charge that is established buy town charter, and they are fulfilling that charge.
citi123 August 01, 2012 at 12:37 PM
According to your previous posts you are trying to stop this development at any cost. First you tried it yourself, then organized neighbors and hired the attorney, and now Historical Commission? You are a very persistent, but may be it is time to stop inventing causes why there should be no development at your back yard, and go with majority of Swampscott residents?
EM August 01, 2012 at 04:36 PM
Citi123 - I have been very consistent in supporting the Historical Commission - first with Captain Jacks, then Greenwood, and in the future Machon. NO nearby community is tearing down their unused schools and allowing developers to rule the roost. They have all been adaptively reused. Why is Swampscott different? This place is going to look like Revere pretty soon! And you know nothing about me or my involvement, so do not make statements you can't back up. Im in this as a concerned citizen and really don't have any skin in the game.
citi123 August 01, 2012 at 05:54 PM
I totally agree with you – history is important, but there should be some limits. Would you keep an old dirty and smelly pair of snickers, just because you once played soccer in them, even if you do not have space for a new pair you really need to use now? Or would you hold on a gold ring and let you family starve to death, just because this ring is a history for you and you do not want to sell it? Sometime you need to let go no matter how precious it is for you.
John August 01, 2012 at 07:36 PM
Citi123 ... I Use Reese's Peanut Butter Cups whenever I play Soccer !
Alex August 01, 2012 at 07:39 PM
"Well intentioned"? As in "Road to Hell is paved by .....".
citi123 August 01, 2012 at 07:43 PM
Oops.. . my bad, i meant sneakers (I should blame auto-correction probably)
Liz August 01, 2012 at 07:44 PM
to Jaymo Phillips: the homeowner took thier advise and refused to take the tree down. Do not tell me what went on in my neighborhood.
Alex August 01, 2012 at 07:47 PM
An answer to your question "Why is Swampscott different?" is simple: town has nor resources (as in $$$$) or a real need for reusing these buildings while constructing the new and expensive ones (new high school, new police department). How many years this building was staying vacant? Why didn't you and your Historical Commission offer some alternative usage during these years? It is not that this empty building was improving neighborhood, which is, anyway, not the best-looking or most expensive part of Swampscott.
Alex August 01, 2012 at 07:55 PM
Proposals look hardly practical. Not only the listed parts of the building are too ugly to improve appearance of any new building, reusing a cupola should be expensive in a building of a different size. Ditto for the wall or what you described as "the ornate entrances" - whoever designed them did not suffer from the excess of a good taste. Another rhetoric is just silly: "What Swampscott High graduate earning a living as a carpenter would not want to volunteer time to help restore the cupola..." Probably quite a few of them would not but what about legality of such a volunteer work in a commercial development? And what exactly "passion for education" has to do with having a plaque on the wall saying that "the school was there"?
Bridget Russo August 01, 2012 at 09:04 PM
I have never heard the term Swampscototian before. Back in the day, we used to say Swampscotter. I wouldn't say Salemotian. Or Lynnotian. Maybe this will start a trend!
Jean Reardon August 06, 2012 at 03:10 PM
Bety As a member of the Historical Commission I can tell you that we do NOT make rulings on trees being taken down regardless of age, you may have us confused with the Town Tree Warden. However if the 100 yr old chestnut tree was on HIS property why did he ask permission for it to be taken down??? He has ervey right to take down a tree on his property.
Liz August 06, 2012 at 04:55 PM
Jean, members of the HC at the time deemed his home to be historical, they visited the property and at thier advise he put a placque on the home, date built, at the same time they raved about the trees are extinct they were becoming. My point is do not over step bounds and be sure to know the facts before speaking...
Fred Bollen August 15, 2012 at 06:50 PM
I agree with EM's comments. I believe that the Historical Commission's actions were unbiased and within their established duties. Unpopular decisions are never easy to make.


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