We applaud Danvers selectmen for their unanimous vote last week to turn over an abandoned property in one of the town’s nicest neighborhoods to the Affordable Housing Trust.
It would have been easy to keep neighbors happy by just selling the property to a developer, who would raze the deteriorating house at 55 Coolidge Road, build a new one and sell it to a family that could afford the $300,000 to $500,000 price tag that would be expected in this area. The town would have made some money, too.
Instead, selectmen opted to make living in the desirable Woodvale neighborhood an option for a family who can’t afford a half-million-dollar home. This will still be a single-family house, but it will be priced for a family of moderate means — the kind of people, as former Selectman Bill Nicholson put it, “who are paying as much for rent as they would for a mortgage.”
Neighbors were leery; they wanted to make sure that an affordable house wouldn’t drive down their own property values and that a suitable family would move in. But Selectman Dan Bennett, who’s in the real estate business, pointed out that the eyesore that’s there now is the real problem when it comes to property values, not the annual income of the family who moves into what will be a nice, new home.
Selectmen voted to open doors in Danvers and to put people above property.
It’s what we’ve come to expect of this caring community, and they did Danvers proud.