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DEVENS — The proposed 20-acre Vicksburg Square project is just a fraction of the 2,000 developable Devens acres.

It’s a project that stalled when MassDevelopment failed to win a “yes” vote from Ayer last summer to rezone the area to allow its residential reuse. Shirley and Harvard Town Meetings were on board with the proposal, not yet tied to a particular developer.

Ayer cited several concerns, including a lack of information on how the housing project that straddles the historic Ayer-Harvard town boundaries would impact Ayer. Vicksburg Square is located just past Verbeck Gate off West Main Street, a faltering economic corridor in town.

Now the ball’s been passed. Instead of proceeding with an unnamed developer, MassDevelopment selected Boston-based Trinity Financial to push the project forward and seek to satisfy the tritown concerns. MassDevelopment stresses it’s no longer its project to push forward.

Still, Devens Executive Vice President George Ramirez is anxious for action.

“I think Vicksburg Square is extremely important. It’s historical property. It’s decaying and any opportunity to develop it and bring it back to life and put residents in there…I think it’s very important to Devens and the future of Devens,” Ramirez said.

Asked how he’ll realize the stated housing goals of MassDevelopment’s President and CEO Robert Culver, Ramirez answered, “incrementally.” Last fall, Culver expressed the agency’s desire for 600 more residential units on Devens.

“Vicksburg would be a good start, but I think incrementally would be the way to go as Vicksburg gets redeveloped and citizens start to set roots in Devens. We have 20 green housing units here, too, but a lot of this stuff is going to be done incrementally,” said Ramirez.

“I think Bob has reason to be personally anxious. We’ve been here since 1994 and I think that the infrastructure of the businesses and commercial development has been incredibility successful. Now it’s time to improve the quality of life here for the citizens of Devens. It’s a natural thought process,” Ramirez said.

While MassDevelopment hopes to expand its residential unit count, tension may be mounting for residents on and around Devens who’ve voiced concerns over the residential versus commercial development on Devens.

The Evergreen Solar Corp. noise dispute over its Barnum Road plant is well into its second year. Several Harvard residents situated over the border of the Devens Regional Enterprise Zone and behind the factory have noted their properties were identified in advance as ‘sensitive receptors’ likely to be impacted by noise generated by the 450,000- square-foot plant well before its round-the-clock manufacturing operations began in 2008. The company has until Nov. 1 to comply with a new, more stringent set of maximum noise levels permitted from its externally mounted equipment behind the plant.

Responding to Devens’ resident concerns, the Devens Enterprise Commission voted 5-2 last week to issue a rare rejection of Devens business request. The Devens Recycling Center Corp. had sought Saturday hours to process demolition and municipal solid waste. Several neighbors objected to the odor, noise, traffic, and efforts to monitor the rodent population attracted by the waste flow.

One resident real estate broker dared to utter that the facility was trashing neighbors’ property values.

“There’s a perception versus the reality on investing in housing here,” said MassDevelopment Chief of Staff Meg Delorier. “I’d like the opportunity to talk to the folks that are making some of these statements. I’m very surprised to hear someone on Walnut Street saying they’re impacted by the Devens Recycling Center.” She added that the Massachusetts State Police, contracted to police Devens, are monitoring truck traffic closely.

“The residents that are here are very anxious for us to move forward with more housing here on Devens. The dissatisfaction because of a particular reason is new,” Delorier said.

“Upon further investigation, some of the things that people are complaining about are not Devens specific — cut- through traffic, traffic off of Route 2 through the gates to shorten their trip. I’m not sure how to respond until we talk to folks about it. Devens Recycling Center and its principal operator takes seriously his commitment to the Devens community. From the time the business was proposed, Devens Recycling Center did a great deal of outreach explaining what their process was and what they’d accept into the facility,” Delorier said.

Ramirez agreed and added, “on balance, I would encourage anybody that is interested in coming to live or work at Devens to come here, walk around, read the history of Devens and make a decision. From what I can tell, Devens is going through some growing pains as a community. We have a lot of interest here. There’s no doubt in my mind that if Vicksburg is built out, there’d be interest.”

Ramirez said the hundreds employed by Bristol-Myers Squibb’s biopharmaceutical manufacturing and research and development facility off Jackson Road alone would be interested in Vicksburg housing.

Some in Ayer have stated concerns that the Vicksburg Square housing units would flood the local real-estate inventory in an already sluggish market. Ed Starzec, MassDevelopment’s director of Land Entitlements, disagrees.

“Ayer doesn’t have any permits out there for first-time market housing. Ayer has lot of single-family homes on Snake Hill. This project is not going to compete with that. This is a different market with buyers who are downsizing or not ready to commit to a single-family home,” Starzec said.

Excepting for the newly opened nonprofit Transitions transitional housing project, Starzec said, “this is a market- driven project here. The green-housing initiatives, Vicksburg Square, Walnut and Elm Street housing. At the end of the day, a developer has to be confident that he or she is going to have a positive return because they’re investing their own capital in it. Just like anywhere else.”

“If it’s going to turn into slum housing, they’re not going to invest $80 million into it. They can’t afford to,” Starzec said.

“There’s good value here with the open space. This is a good opportunity to come and set roots,” Ramirez said.

Correcting an oft-uttered misconception, the MassDevelopment team stated it’s here until 2033. They say it’s inaccurate to state that the MassDevelopment mission is to ceaset when the former Army base is 80-percent developed.

The confusion, they said, may have roots in the failed “2B” disposition vote. Under that scenario there was such an 80-percent pull-out provision. But the effort to incorporate Devens into the state’s 352nd municipality failed to win Ayer and Harvard Town Meeting support in 2006.

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