Air base board shake-up asn three members on way out

Jack Encarnacao

Just after reaching a long-awaited deal to purchase the last of the Navy-held land at the former South Weymouth Naval Air Station, South Shore Tri-Town Development Corp. is undergoing a significant shake-up.

Two of the five members, John Rogers of Rockland and Robert Terravecchia of Weymouth, have resigned from the public board, which is overseeing the redevelopment of the 1,400-acre base.

Another board member, Colin McPherson of Weymouth, plans to leave the board soon.

Weymouth Mayor Sue Kay has appointed close adviser and former Selectman David Chandler to fill the vacancy caused by Terravecchia’s departure. The Rockland selectmen will chose a replacement for Rogers.

McPherson said he decided shortly before he decided to run for mayor that he was going to leave the Tri-Town board. He said he agreed to stay on the board after the November election, in which he lost to Kay, so he could help the board deal with complicated financial issues it was facing.

“There are a lot of things coming in the next couple of months; it’s a very tight time frame,” McPherson said. “I’m going to stay on until it makes sense for me to leave, and the mayor’s on board with that.”

The shake-up comes after the deal with the Navy and the reaching of a “development and disposition agreement” with the base developer, LNR Property Corp. That agreement spells out how LNR will work with and pay money to Tri-Town as the redevelopment project, called SouthField, is completed over the next several years.

“It’s a good transition period,” said Terravecchia, who is the president of Weymouth Bank. “Someone else can get on the board and those tasks are done. It’s a clean break, a clean cutoff.”

Tri-Town terms last five years.

Terravecchia, who was appointed in 2006, said he stepped down because of the heavy time commitment.

“It’s been a long, long 2½ years,” he said. “I have found this to be one of the most challenging and interesting endeavors of my life. It’s so complicated that it’s mind-boggling.”

The board lost significant experience when Rogers left. Rogers, 76, former superintendent of schools in Rockland, had been on the board for nine years. He is unopposed for a seat on the housing authority in Rockland’s annual town election, which will be held Saturday.

Chandler makes up for the loss of experience in some ways. He was on the 33-member air station planning committee that began studying the future of the base when the Navy first threatened to close it. He also served on an advisory board that reviewed the budget of Tri-Town, which was formed in 1998 by an act of the state Legislature.

SouthField construction having begun, Tri-Town’s role is different than when he was active, Chandler said. LNR is expected to soon begin coming forward with construction plans – plans that will need Tri-Town’s approval.

“You’re starting a whole new phase again,” Chandler said. “You’re overseeing the construction of the base, where before you were creating the structure to make the thing work, which is a lot different.”

Legislation that would extend the life of Tri-Town, enabling the agency to pay off bonding debt that will be accrued in preparing the former base for development, is pending. The legislation also would allow board members to be compensated.

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