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How Should Newton Reuse the former Parks & Recreation Site on Crescent Street?

The building and land is located at 70 Crescent St. in Auburndale.

It has been just over a year since the Newton Parks & Recreation Department officially moved in to its new home on Vernon Street in Newton Corner, leaving behind its former residence at 70 Crescent St.

Now, the city is considering the reuse of the Auburndale property, which was declared as surplus by Parks & Recreation Commissioner Robert DeRubeis in October 2011.

Similar to the former Health Department building and Austin Street parking lot, the city formed a joint advisory planning group (JAPG) to study the Crescent Street site and propose possible uses for the property. 

The current site includes a three-story building that is approximately 3,200 square feet. This main building primarily housed offices, meeting rooms, workstations and storage.

In its report, the Crescent Street JAPG recommends demolishing the buildings and re-zoning the site so it can have a "moderately sized" residential development (8 to 20 units). The development would fit into the character of the neighborhood, the report says, and provide some affordable housing for the city. 

The full JAPG report is included in the .pdf section to the right.

According to the report, the total site is more than 98,000 square feet. Roughly 37,000 square feet of the property is the Rev. Ford Playground and parking for Myrtle Baptist Church, which were not initially considered as part of the reuse. 

However, the JAPG specifies that any developer selected for the site should consider the entire property in its plan, and potentially work with the abutting Myrtle Baptist Church to change some of the lot lines "so the properties can be used more efficiently."

So, how do you think the city should reuse the property? What should a potential developer do with the property? Share your ideas in the comments section below. 

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