DOVER -- The land by 7-Eleven that links the Valley Trail will finally be developed by its new owners -- the town itself.
"Actually, we looked at a variety of parcels available for sale and tried to ascertain which was actually the best one available on the Valley Trail," said Economic Development Specialist Ken Black. "We looked at various prices of parcels and made a decision to bid on it."
The town of Dover won the bid and paid $150,000 for the lot. This particular one-acre parcel has electricity, a sewer and water. It will become a public area for people to meet up along the Valley Trail.
The land was owned by Edward Barber and the town paid for it using money from its 1 percent local option tax fund.
"There have been a lot of efforts of a lot of folks, over all the years of economic development of the town, to try and find a place," said Assistant Economic Development Specialist Linda Anelli. "This place has always been on top of the list. It’s a no-brainer."
There has been a conceptual design drafted that includes benches, tables and playground equipment. It will serve to accommodate those who use the Valley Trail.
"Inevitably, every single person will have a vision for what it could be," said Anelli. "By the end of the day, everyone will be in concert for using the land as a gathering place or a greenspace for people who already appreciate the Valley Trail, so they can sit and watch the world go by."
It is not a "down-to-details spec," Black said. The development will be finalized over the next couple of months.
"The objective is to start working on it in the spring."
The land is right in the middle of the businesses along Route 100, between Country Club Road and 7-Eleven. The restaurant One More Time will be on the other side of the park.
It is just about in the middle of the Valley Trail, which is a path where many people walk, run, ride bicycles and roller-blade that runs from the West Dover Post Office to the where a sidewalk continues to bring path users to a shopping center where the Saloon, North Real Estate office, hair salon Hairaphernalia and other offices are.
The trail is approximately five miles long and connects the West Dover Historic District and village in the south.
The parcel will include extra parking spaces and will be a place to rest or congregate along the trail. People will be able to take their pizza, coffee or soda to the lot and enjoy what will become town property.
"This is particularly interesting because it becomes a focal point in the business district where people can gather and meet one another, then make use of the various facilities that are offered along the business area."
The park that will be developed is intended to provide more traffic to businesses. It will provide access for residents and visitors of the area to the retail stores, restaurants and inns that make up the district on Route 100.
Black couldn’t say how long the entire process of acquiring the land had been going on for, but the town has been going through the legal process most recently.
"After a lot of years of talking, it finally happened," Anelli said.
East Dover may see a development on some land soon, too.
The land on Dover Hill Road that is owned by East Dover Fire Department has become an item of interest on a list for land development in Dover.
"(It) is a well-traveled road and a space that could use a lot of improvement," said Black at the Selectboard meeting on Nov. 20.
The EDFD thought it was a good idea when Black presented it to them before the Selectboard meeting. The plan for development is still just an idea, but it is the only other plan for developing land in Dover for now, besides the parcel on the Valley Trail.
"The Selectboard approved looking at the next step, which is to define a mechanism for the way we could develop the land into a park for residents," said Black.
The owners of the land, the EDFD will still continue to own the deed to the land. The plan is still in "design and develop mode." It hasn’t been approved just yet.
"But the Selectboard gave the go-ahead to continue to look at the project, which is certainly a major step forward," said Black.
If this development goes further, the committee, which works on project management and other details for the project on the one-acre parcel, will most likely work on the plans for the land owned by the EDFD. The committee is made up of Ken Black, Linda Anelli, Linda Kersten, Phil Gilpin, Nicholas Wallaert, Linda Holland, Bob Holland and Nona Monis.
"It’s another piece of land that’s been talked about for years with the volunteer committees and beautification committee. It always seemed a logical place if it were available. I know it’s still in the discussion phase. I think everyone’s hopeful that we’ll see a greenspace on that side of town, too," said Anelli.
Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or firstname.lastname@example.org.