Efforts underway to make river more accessible

·2 min read

Aug. 4—Town officials are working on plans for two kayak launches — at Pomps Pond and Nason's Landing — that abide by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

At a recent meeting of the Andover Disability Commission, Facilities Director Janet Nicosia talked about the plans at length.

Nason's Landing, off River Street, would have a 60 foot gangway, which would accommodate ADA slope requirements. Nicosia said there would be railings all the way down the platform.

Nicosia said she plans on getting funding from Town Meeting and through grants up to $250,000. She estimates that each landing would cost between $300,000 and $500,000.

Elizabeth Maldari, a grad student who is working with the town of Andover as part of her thesis, presented research on what the community wants done to make the Shawsheen River more accessible.

Maldari has been gathering input from community members and estimates that she has engaged with about 50 individuals.

"In talking to people about the Shawsheen River and what they would like, they are not always saying specifically what amenities they want, but really describing an experience," Maldari said.

She likened it to asking for a place where you can eat and spend time with people outside, instead of asking for a picnic table.

She also said that some residents have been concerned about transportation.

"Just knowing that you can get from point A to point B, that has come up as a concern for a lot of people, Maldari said.

Parking, crosswalk safety and restrooms have all been part of the conversation as well.

Moving forward, Maldari plans to hold more events to collect input on conservation land with the goal of creating a master plan.

"We need to keep talking and thinking," said Katherine Ananis, a member of the disability commission. "I am excited for what the possibilities are for people with disabilities being able to engage in parks and conservation land here in Andover."