Staking Bedford’s Claim for a Seat at the Table in Future Navy Land Divestiture Discussions

Compiled by The Bedford Citizen

“We’d rather make sure we have a seat at the table, and we’d like to have the only seat at the table, at least initially…” Bedford Selectman Michael Rosenberg told the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Military Asset Security and Strategy Task Force, Mr. John C. Beatty, during the January 24, 2019, Hanscom Area Towns Committee (HATS) meeting.

Rosenberg was referring to the potential divestiture of the long-closed Bedford Naval installation occupying 30 acres of Hartwell Hill, just north of Hartwell Road and across from a 16-acre parcel of Navy land. That smaller parcel along with an associated hangar was recently divested by the Navy and sold for $9,040,000 at public Government Services Administration (GSA) auction to an unknown bidder for an as yet undisclosed purpose. Click this link to read about the auction’s closing bids.

Bedford is interested in taking a proactive approach, Rosenberg explained, so any future Naval divestiture process includes the Town’s interests.  “We’re trying to find the right people to talk to, to make sure that this doesn’t slip under the radar and then all of the sudden the town has to take a defensive posture to protect its interests,” he added.

“The Town would very much like to have an exclusive opportunity to negotiate with the Navy to ensure that some disruptive development doesn’t take place there.”

A quick history of the divested Navy hangar and land:  When the expected transfer of the land to the Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) was canceled last year, GSA announced the parcel would be sold at public auction, without conferring with the Town.  Bedford reacted defensively by requesting the auction be halted, or at least delayed until officials could evaluate the situation and its possible negative impacts on the Town and surrounding neighborhoods.  During the six-week delay, the Town voted to enact protective rezoning, in an effort to rule out some of the more harmful potential industrial developments made possible by the sale of the land at public auction.

Beatty, whose Task Force includes Governor Baker, Senators Warren and Markey, and U.S. Congressman Seth Moulton, and whose mission is to support and strengthen Massachusetts military installations and their surrounding communities, stated in a follow-up conversation with a Bedford Citizen representative on February 5th,  that he has “agreed to take an initial look into the history of the Bedford NWIRP (Naval Weapons Industrial Reserve Plant) divestiture, including the recent GSA public auction.”



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