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DEVENS — Old linoleum tiles crack under foot, sending pieces skittering across the floor.

Paint peels under the weight of time and crumbles when touched. Vandals’ not-so-original comments are spray-painted along interior walls in blue and orange.

But it was of no concern to the many who took the time to tour Vicksburg Square Saturday morning. Instead, there was a lot of talk of potential, and what could be.

“To knock these buildings down would be horrific,” said Regina Kim, a Devens resident, who marveled at the high ceilings. She said the buildings were certainly worth saving in her mind, citing how sound they appeared.

Her friend, Vickie Bratton of Devens, says she’s hopeful the Super Town Meeting set for June 8 leads to development of the buildings into multifamily housing. Devens is a unique community in which to live. “The good thing about Devens is that we’re all from somewhere else,” she said, negating any stigma of being a “blow-in” versus a “townie.” All Devens homeowners are transient in that the whole post base closure housing opportunity is only about a decade old.

Janet Kinch lives on Elm Street with her husband, Tom, a member of the Devens Citizens Advisory Committee. She said they relocated to Devens from Westport, Conn., which she characterized as “pretty upscale,” and says they’ve been thrilled ever since living on Devens.

“It’s like living on a college campus minus the kids,” she said. “Flags are out for Christmas and special events for the Forth of July. Everything they do here is first class.”

And for residents of Devens, Kinch says everything is just a short drive away. “Hallmark, Pinard’s, Home Depot, sometimes I go to Hannaford,” said Kinch.

She noted the importance of preserving the country’s history like the Devens buildings. “We’re a very young country,” she said. “If people don’t learn to preserve it, then we’ve lost,” she noted, when comparing European preservation projects.

Harvard Selectmen Chairman Ron Ricci noted with enthusiasm the buzz among visitors. “A lot of wonderful things can happen. It would be a shame to let these buildings fall down. We have to save these buildings,” he said.

MassDevelopment Executive Vice President Richard Montuori praised the “great turnout.” There were approximately 50 people, including “a lot of new faces,” who partook in the two-hour tour.

“Everyone brings their own vision of what can happen here,” said Montuori.

Former Ayer selectman Frank Maxant seemed to be the sole (vocal) opponent of the 300-plus housing units proposed for the buildings. He mixed it up in the hallway with MassDevelopment administrator Ed Starcz over the strength of the agency’s past efforts to market the hulking buildings for “Innovation and Technology” uses, the quad’s original use per the Reuse Plan. Maxant believes the state agency didn’t really try.

Maxant, a Navy veteran, stood and chatted with Ayer Selectman Jim Fay, an Army veteran, when something caught Fay’s eye. He climbed under the yellow caution tape to decipher for his Navy brethren the etchings on a large green wall-mounted sliding chalkboard.

“‘Task not consistent with 611-201,’ means you’re outside your skill level,” said Fay to Maxant without a glint of irony. Fay theorized that the green chalkboard was filled with past attempts to explain or clean up a training manua.

Sliding that chalkboard aside, Fay gingerly pulled the handle to reveal another sliding massive pocket chalkboard hidden within the wall. With trepidation, all eyes peered up to see what, if anything, would be scrawled upon the board.

Harvard Selectman Peter Warren said, “Oh, a helicopter!” A huge chalk sketch of a helicopter, apparently firing bullets, was crudely evident on the slate — a reminder of Vicksburg’s days gone by.

Join the Conversation

We invite you to use our commenting platform to engage in insightful conversations about issues in our community. We reserve the right at all times to remove any information or materials that are unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, pornographic, profane, indecent or otherwise objectionable to us, and to disclose any information necessary to satisfy the law, regulation, or government request. We might permanently block any user who abuses these conditions.

Peeling paint, cracking tiles
Peeling paint, cracking tiles
PUBLISHED: | UPDATED:

DEVENS — Old linoleum tiles crack under foot, sending pieces skittering across the floor.

Paint peels under the weight of time and crumbles when touched. Vandals’ not-so-original comments are spray-painted along interior walls in blue and orange.

But it was of no concern to the many who took the time to tour Vicksburg Square Saturday morning. Instead, there was a lot of talk of potential, and what could be.

“To knock these buildings down would be horrific,” said Regina Kim, a Devens resident, who marveled at the high ceilings. She said the buildings were certainly worth saving in her mind, citing how sound they appeared.

Her friend, Vickie Bratton of Devens, says she’s hopeful the Super Town Meeting set for June 8 leads to development of the buildings into multifamily housing. Devens is a unique community in which to live. “The good thing about Devens is that we’re all from somewhere else,” she said, negating any stigma of being a “blow-in” versus a “townie.” All Devens homeowners are transient in that the whole post base closure housing opportunity is only about a decade old.

Janet Kinch lives on Elm Street with her husband, Tom, a member of the Devens Citizens Advisory Committee. She said they relocated to Devens from Westport, Conn., which she characterized as “pretty upscale,” and says they’ve been thrilled ever since living on Devens.

“It’s like living on a college campus minus the kids,” she said. “Flags are out for Christmas and special events for the Forth of July. Everything they do here is first class.”

And for residents of Devens, Kinch says everything is just a short drive away. “Hallmark, Pinard’s, Home Depot, sometimes I go to Hannaford,” said Kinch.

She noted the importance of preserving the country’s history like the Devens buildings. “We’re a very young country,” she said. “If people don’t learn to preserve it, then we’ve lost,” she noted, when comparing European preservation projects.

Harvard Selectmen Chairman Ron Ricci noted with enthusiasm the buzz among visitors. “A lot of wonderful things can happen. It would be a shame to let these buildings fall down. We have to save these buildings,” he said.

MassDevelopment Executive Vice President Richard Montuori praised the “great turnout.” There were approximately 50 people, including “a lot of new faces,” who partook in the two-hour tour.

“Everyone brings their own vision of what can happen here,” said Montuori.

Former Ayer selectman Frank Maxant seemed to be the sole (vocal) opponent of the 300-plus housing units proposed for the buildings. He mixed it up in the hallway with MassDevelopment administrator Ed Starcz over the strength of the agency’s past efforts to market the hulking buildings for “Innovation and Technology” uses, the quad’s original use per the Reuse Plan. Maxant believes the state agency didn’t really try.

Maxant, a Navy veteran, stood and chatted with Ayer Selectman Jim Fay, an Army veteran, when something caught Fay’s eye. He climbed under the yellow caution tape to decipher for his Navy brethren the etchings on a large green wall-mounted sliding chalkboard.

“‘Task not consistent with 611-201,’ means you’re outside your skill level,” said Fay to Maxant without a glint of irony. Fay theorized that the green chalkboard was filled with past attempts to explain or clean up a training manua.

Sliding that chalkboard aside, Fay gingerly pulled the handle to reveal another sliding massive pocket chalkboard hidden within the wall. With trepidation, all eyes peered up to see what, if anything, would be scrawled upon the board.

Harvard Selectman Peter Warren said, “Oh, a helicopter!” A huge chalk sketch of a helicopter, apparently firing bullets, was crudely evident on the slate — a reminder of Vicksburg’s days gone by.

Join the Conversation

We invite you to use our commenting platform to engage in insightful conversations about issues in our community. We reserve the right at all times to remove any information or materials that are unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, pornographic, profane, indecent or otherwise objectionable to us, and to disclose any information necessary to satisfy the law, regulation, or government request. We might permanently block any user who abuses these conditions.

Peeling paint, cracking tiles
Peeling paint, cracking tiles
PUBLISHED: | UPDATED:

DEVENS — Old linoleum tiles crack under foot, sending pieces skittering across the floor.

Paint peels under the weight of time and crumbles when touched. Vandals’ not-so-original comments are spray-painted along interior walls in blue and orange.

But it was of no concern to the many who took the time to tour Vicksburg Square Saturday morning. Instead, there was a lot of talk of potential, and what could be.

“To knock these buildings down would be horrific,” said Regina Kim, a Devens resident, who marveled at the high ceilings. She said the buildings were certainly worth saving in her mind, citing how sound they appeared.

Her friend, Vickie Bratton of Devens, says she’s hopeful the Super Town Meeting set for June 8 leads to development of the buildings into multifamily housing. Devens is a unique community in which to live. “The good thing about Devens is that we’re all from somewhere else,” she said, negating any stigma of being a “blow-in” versus a “townie.” All Devens homeowners are transient in that the whole post base closure housing opportunity is only about a decade old.

Janet Kinch lives on Elm Street with her husband, Tom, a member of the Devens Citizens Advisory Committee. She said they relocated to Devens from Westport, Conn., which she characterized as “pretty upscale,” and says they’ve been thrilled ever since living on Devens.

“It’s like living on a college campus minus the kids,” she said. “Flags are out for Christmas and special events for the Forth of July. Everything they do here is first class.”

And for residents of Devens, Kinch says everything is just a short drive away. “Hallmark, Pinard’s, Home Depot, sometimes I go to Hannaford,” said Kinch.

She noted the importance of preserving the country’s history like the Devens buildings. “We’re a very young country,” she said. “If people don’t learn to preserve it, then we’ve lost,” she noted, when comparing European preservation projects.

Harvard Selectmen Chairman Ron Ricci noted with enthusiasm the buzz among visitors. “A lot of wonderful things can happen. It would be a shame to let these buildings fall down. We have to save these buildings,” he said.

MassDevelopment Executive Vice President Richard Montuori praised the “great turnout.” There were approximately 50 people, including “a lot of new faces,” who partook in the two-hour tour.

“Everyone brings their own vision of what can happen here,” said Montuori.

Former Ayer selectman Frank Maxant seemed to be the sole (vocal) opponent of the 300-plus housing units proposed for the buildings. He mixed it up in the hallway with MassDevelopment administrator Ed Starcz over the strength of the agency’s past efforts to market the hulking buildings for “Innovation and Technology” uses, the quad’s original use per the Reuse Plan. Maxant believes the state agency didn’t really try.

Maxant, a Navy veteran, stood and chatted with Ayer Selectman Jim Fay, an Army veteran, when something caught Fay’s eye. He climbed under the yellow caution tape to decipher for his Navy brethren the etchings on a large green wall-mounted sliding chalkboard.

“‘Task not consistent with 611-201,’ means you’re outside your skill level,” said Fay to Maxant without a glint of irony. Fay theorized that the green chalkboard was filled with past attempts to explain or clean up a training manua.

Sliding that chalkboard aside, Fay gingerly pulled the handle to reveal another sliding massive pocket chalkboard hidden within the wall. With trepidation, all eyes peered up to see what, if anything, would be scrawled upon the board.

Harvard Selectman Peter Warren said, “Oh, a helicopter!” A huge chalk sketch of a helicopter, apparently firing bullets, was crudely evident on the slate — a reminder of Vicksburg’s days gone by.

Join the Conversation

We invite you to use our commenting platform to engage in insightful conversations about issues in our community. We reserve the right at all times to remove any information or materials that are unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, pornographic, profane, indecent or otherwise objectionable to us, and to disclose any information necessary to satisfy the law, regulation, or government request. We might permanently block any user who abuses these conditions.