AYER — On the heels of Annual Town Meeting voters supporting the idea of taking back land at Devens, former selectman Frank Maxant has presented legislation to the Board of Selectmen.
“I’m very happy to hear the vote,” said Maxant. “I have been very deeply concerned about (what to do with Devens).”
Maxant said he wrote the legislation two years ago. Now that residents have voted, he said he wants the board to see it.
“This (legislation) anticipates that all three towns will want to work together,” he said.
Maxant read the proposal, which includes returning land to Ayer, Harvard and Shirley, to the selectmen.
“What if Harvard doesn’t want to do this?” Selectman Gary Luca asked.
The language, according to Maxant, would have to be very specific.
“The legislation reads now ‘An act restoring the constitutional municipal authority to the town of Ayer-Harvard-Shirley,” he explained.
The board took no action on the legislation prepared by Maxant.
Another consideration the selectmen would have to consider is the Open Space and Recreation Plan for Devens.
“The Devens open-space plan has been going on for four-and-a-half years,” said Patrick Hughes. “This isn’t a disposition report but a recommendation.”
The most important thing is that Willard Field remain an athletic recreation field, he said.
“There are properties in Devens that are already protected,” said Hughes. “We want to make sure that Willard Field is one of those properties.”
Hughes asked the board to support the protection of Willard Field and take the item to the Joint Boards of Selectmen and the state.
The scope of the plan is to update and expand the original Open Space and Recreation Plan of 1996.
Key points of the new update are to preserve and protect important land and water resources, provide connections between open-space areas within and beyond Devens to facilitate movement and access by humans and/or wildlife, meet the diverse recreational needs of Devens and the region, and manage, maintain and operate active recreation facilities and open-space districts.
The board unanimously decided to support the open-space plan and will show that support at the next Joint Boards of Selectmen meeting.
The town will be holding a public hearing on June 12 to discuss the future of Ayer and its land in Devens.