Shawsheen River Master Plan

Rendering of people on the roadway next to the river

The Shawsheen River (the “Shawsheen”) is a vital element of Andover’s identity. The Town’s industrial heritage is closely tied to the Shawsheen, as is the community’s ability to adapt to future climate impacts. Over the past two decades, flooding along the Shawsheen has displaced local residents and has caused significant property damage. Yet, the river continues to provide significant educational, recreational, and social benefits to the Town.

River running under a bridge

Project Goals

As Andover approached its 375th anniversary, the time was right to develop a vision for the Shawsheen River corridor. The Town hired Fuss & O’Neill to create a Master Plan that would highlight several priority projects and serve as a roadmap for how the Town could capitalize on the Shawsheen’s value to the community; improve access to, and engagement with, the Shawsheen’s many beneficial ecosystem services; and plan for a more resilient future to protect natural resources and prevent flood damage to the built environment.

People sitting at tables listening to a Fuss and O'Neill presentation

Community Engagement

Fuss & O’Neill’s environmental planners and landscape architects led a community-driven process (public workshops and a design charrette) to develop the Master Plan. Town staff provided input regarding:

  • The benefits provided by the Shawsheen, including current use patterns for recreational and educational purposes.
  • Detailed risks associated with current/past flood events and future climate projections.
  • Connections with the Historic Mill District and Shawsheen Village neighborhood.
  • River health and water quality, including information on recent dam removals, remaining restrictions, known status of fisheries and wildlife, etc.
View of river with buildings in the background

The public provided input regarding:

  • Priority projects along the Shawsheen.
  • Ideas and preferences related to proposed conceptual design solutions.
Rendering of people watching a soccer game

Master Plan

The Shawsheen River Master Plan was developed to be a living, web-based plan (created using ArcGIS Experience as the website platform) that could be updated over time by the Andover community. It provides a visual roadmap of priority projects, including planning level costs and a summary of potential permits/approvals needed for implementation.

The Master Plan was developed to be integrated with ongoing efforts to update the Town’s Comprehensive Master Plan and to be integrated with the high-priority climate resilience actions identified through the Town’s Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) planning process, including Climate Ready Shawsheen.

Rendering of a roadway and people crossing the crosswalk towards the park

Future Goals

The Shawsheen River Master Plan will help the Town develop a vision for the future of the Shawsheen River corridor that can be leveraged to secure additional funding to implement priority projects and build public momentum for the implementation of priority projects.

Rendering of people at a park

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