The town-owned property on South Park Avenue commanded center stage once again at the May 7 Board of Selectmen meeting with updates and modifications and a new proposal.

The three selectmen inched closer to making a decision on the future of the 29-acre property the town paid $6.1 million to purchase in 2008 to prevent dense development. The town still owes roughly $5 million on it since the final option for the New England Prayer Center, which intended to buy it, fell through last year.

Additionally, the selectmen denied a petition for a Town Meeting to adopt a land use ordinance requiring Town Meeting approval of the acquisition of property valued at $10,000 or more. If the ordinance were in effect, the Town Meeting would make the decision on the property. (See related article.)

Most, but not all, of the residents who packed the conference room at Town Hall for the meeting oppose the sale of the property and want to keep it as open space or a park.

The selectmen have heard five proposals since the New England Prayer Center lost its final option to purchase the property after six years and several lawsuits.

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