BEDFORD, NH-A 38-acre parcel sandwiched between Routes 114 and 101 will either become a mall or a school, depending what voters decide at the polls today.

The parcel is owned by the Flatley Co., which had proposed developing a 264,000-sf shopping mall on the site. The proposal set off such a fierce debate amongst local residents that the company agreed to sell the property to the town’s school district. According to Karen White, the town’s planning director, the land was appraised at $11.2 million. Flatley has agreed to sell it to the school district for $3.9 million.

The problem is the school district would be purchasing the site for future school development and the town just recently rejected a proposal to build a high school on land the district already owns. Voters then did not want to see their taxes go up and it’s unclear whether they will see things differently now.

White tells that a group of local activists want to see the school district get the land in order to prevent the mall from going in there. Flatley has made it clear, she says, that if the district doesn’t buy the land it will develop the mall.

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