Smith Property in North Reading Open for Passive Recreation
The property formerly owned by the Smith family, now being called River Wood, is open to the public for walking and other passive recreation.
Land Utilization Committee (LUC) Chairman Ken Tarr presented new information about the property formerly owned by the Smith family to the Board of Selectmen Monday night. The land is unofficially being called River Wood and open for passive recreation.
The LUC was asked by the board to look at River Wood for two things: potential uses and a new name.
River Wood is open for walking and passive recreation. There are some trails, but no official trails at this time.
"There are some passive, more passive recreation type activities that can be done there right now," he said.
A resident said that it was possible to launch a canoe from there, however, there is no official canoe launch, Tarr said.
There is an entrance on Elm Street across from Pleasant Street. It is a narrow road that crosses two bridges. The first bridge only allows foot traffic. River Wood is located to the left of the second bridge. Walk past the wetlands and you will find several "beaten pathways" to walk on.
Members of the LUC walked around the property and found that about 50 percent of the property was high enough to be developed "for whatever purpose."
"We continue to explore different approaches, but development will be greatly hampered by the amount of wetland area present," he said.
In his report, Tarr mentioned that a problem with River Wood is the access points.
"Access has been the major stumbling block to use this space," he said.
During their site visit, members ran into Lynnfield residents who are looking to develop, on their side, playing fields.
“We are watching to see what they do to get their access, but they are open to letting us use that,” he said.
The property does abut Angelwood Lane, but private property blocks access. Tarr suggested possibly buying a house on Angelwood to gain access.
Selectman Mike Prisco asked if it would be possible for a resident on Angelwood to donate a small piece of their property for access. He suggested that if a homeowner has land that abuts River Wood and they would like to donate a small part of it, they should contact Tarr.
River Wood is currently the unofficial name for the property.
"We have been using the working name of River Wood for the 50 acres known formerly as the Smith Property," Tarr said.
The LUC was asked by the selectmen to look into a new name for the property to give it "an identity of its own."
"Technically, the decision not to, officially, name it now is the boards decision, not the LUC. This property was purchased as general town owned land. This allows its uses not to be limited by different classifications constraints. By using River Wood as a working name, we continue to leave its future potential unrestricted," Tarr said.
The selectmen agreed.
“I suggest that we don’t formally name it until there is a defined purpose," Selectman Bob Mauceri said.
Mauceri did suggest that it be referred to as "the River Wood Project."
Selectmen Chairman Sean Delaney was in favor of a working name, whether it be River Wood or the River Wood Project and also agreed that it made sense to wait for a defined purpose for the area before formally naming it.