Gov. Patrick signs law giving Natick more planning flexibility for former school property on Oak Street
Governor Deval Patrick has signed legislation into law that will allow the town of Natick to lease the former East School property for up to 99 years, giving the town more flexibility in planning how to use the property.
The building, located at 84 Oak St., has served as the town's temporary Community/Senior Center for the past two years while construction has moved forward on the new center.
However, when the new Community/Senior Center building, located at 117 East Central St., opens this September, the Oak Street building will be rendered vacant.
The bill now authorizes the Board of Selectmen to grant the property's lease, whereas previously, the town would need state approval before moving forward with such plans.
The bill was filed by local legislators at the request of Town Meeting and the Board of Selectmen to allow the town to identify the best use of the former school, located at the intersection of Route 9 and Oak Street.
According to the legislation, Natick’s Town Meeting will have the final say on any lease or sale.
“Today is another step forward in ensuring continued economic development in Natick,” said state Senator Karen Spilka, an Ashland Democrat. “Now that this bill has been signed into law, the town will have additional options to make sure that this property is used in a way that is best for the community and its residents.”
State Representative David Linsky, a Natick Democrat, said the property has served a great purpose as the temporary location for the Council on Aging during construction of the new building.
“With the opening of the new Community/Senior Center scheduled for the fall, the town must plan for the future use of the former East School and this bill will give Natick greater flexibility in making those decisions,” Linsky said.
State Senator Richard Ross, a Wrentham Republican, said he is also pleased to see the bill move forward.
“It will provide the Town of Natick with new opportunities for utilizing this building and further benefiting the community," Ross said.
Jaclyn Reiss can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org