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Ayer, Massachusetts captures the visitor upon arrival with its quaint historic downtown including retail, office and restaurant establishments. Due to the development of the railroad industry since the 1840’s, this town was a major junction for both east-west and north-south rail lines and therefore an important commercial center. During the turn of the century the Federal Government took part of the town to site an American Civil War training camp known as Camp Stevens and later the area was re-named to Fort Devens which trained soldiers for World War I. The presence of thousands of military and civilian personnel in the area shifted Ayer's commerce from a major commercial railroad junction to servicing the military needs until Fort Devens closed in 1994. The closure of the base has allowed an opportunity for Ayer, Ma to re-invent itself and today, Ayer, Ma today is home to an ethnically diverse community, numerous industries, a “historic district“ downtown, a modern Commuter Rail service and an active freight railway. Ayer, originally part of Groton, incorporated itself in 1871 and was named in honor of Dr. James Cook Ayer, a prominent resident of Lowell who provided the funding for the construction of Town Hall in 1873. Approximately 35 miles northwest from Boston and 27 miles northeast from Worcester Ayer is 9 square miles and is bordered by the towns of Groton, Littleton, Harvard, and Shirley.

The town design for Ayer, Ma is a combination of grid pattern neighborhoods near the historic downtown and suburban cul-de-sac neighborhoods that take advantage of ponds and open space areas outside of downtown proper. Ayer, Ma is also home to the Oxbow National Wildlife Refuge, a large and diverse environmental system of land and waters specifically set aside for the conservation and management of wildlife resources. Oxbow is one of eight refuges in eastern Massachusetts. Residents that live close to downtown can walk or ride bikes to run errands but most Ayer residents use cars.
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Ayer, Ma is a town that offers a community to people in different stages of life. Depending on your housing needs the Ayer real estate market offers many housing options. Ayer real estate offers rentals of apartments, condominiums, and single-family homes. If your housing needs are long-term, the Ayer real estate market also offers a few condominiums but mostly and single-family homes for sale. Anyone considering Ayer real estate, needs to ask: Is the neighborhood the right fit?

Neighborhoods in Ayer, Ma Historic Ayer runs through the center of town along the operating railroad line on one side and abuts a grid pattern neighborhood on the hill overlooking downtown. Quaint homes on smaller lots line the walkable streets and it is convenient to access the Historic downtown to grab a bite to eat or play a round of pool in one of the billiard halls. The commuter rail is located here as well as a commuter parking (30-80spaces) lot shared with the Nashua River Rail Trail. The Nashua River Rail Trail is an old railroad bed that has been re-purposed for non-motorized travel, which begin or ends in Ayer and runs up through Groton, along the Nashua River through Pepperell an eventually terminates in Nashua, New Hampshire.

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West of the historic district are dead-end cul-de-sac neighborhoods that are in close proximity to or directly abut wildlife areas including Surrenden Farms, owned by the Town of Groton, and the Oxbow Wildlife Refuge. Wildlife including hawks, deer, rabbits, owls and the occasional black bear are spotted in this area. The Sandy Pond neighborhood is a suburban developed area that takes advantage of access to the water. In the warm months activities of fishing and swimming are common.

Pinigryville Estates is a single family development, currently under construction just off of Route 2A, in the eastern portion of the town. This hill, in 1935, was home to the largest Nordic ski jump in North America. A 700-foot-high wooden trestle was the ski jump and operated for a single winter season amid the hardships of Great Depression. Part of the structure was blown down by the wind in the summer of 1936 and it was never rebuilt so, the ski jumps lives on in the history books.
Across the hill from Pinigryville is larger cul-de-sac suburban neighborhood with approximately six streets that wind around and cross each other. Most of the homes in this sunny subdivision sit on about one acre lots. It is an area that has attracted many young families so beware of young bikers, pick-up street hockey games and weekend garage sales.
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Commuting from Ayer, Ma
Several options exist for commuting out and into Ayer, Ma.
The town adopted a Comprehensive Master Plan in 2005 and is in the process of exploring the opportunity for an upgraded train depot. The town received seed money from the State to look at the issues and design alternatives for this busy commuter stop.

Freight travels daily through Ayer over the tracks of the historic Stony Brook Railroad. The line currently serves as a major corridor of Pan Am Railway’s which connects New Hampshire and Maine with western Massachusetts, Vermont and New York.

Population of Ayer, Ma
Similarly to other towns Ayer, Ma experienced rapid population growth from 1950 when there was 5,740 persons and in 1960 there were 14,927 however that population increase (over 160%) has tempered to about half since the military base closure.

According to the Census of 2010 there were:

Government of Ayer, Ma
Ayer uses the Town Meeting form of government and elected selectmen serve as the presiding government officials. Anyone may attend Town Meeting but only registered voters (Ma property owners and renters alike) may vote. Ayer also has a water district, which is run separately from town government.

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The town services are primarily funded through the residential property tax and the tax rate may be raised however, taxes may not be raised more than 2½% (locally known as State "Proposition 2½”) unless approved by the voters at Town Meeting. If real estate taxes are to be raised a separate budget line item must be delineated in the budget as opposed to wrapping all the taxes into an overall budget proposal.

The Water District is funded through water rates, connection fees and property rental. The Water District revenues, however, are not subject to State "Proposition 2½." The Water District is funded through an Enterprise fund and the federal and state rules apply to those revenue procedures. More information is available at Ayer Town Hall

Water Supply and Sewage Treatment in Ayer, Ma
The Ayer Water District supplies drinking water to the majority (approximately 80%) of the town via wells located in two different areas of the town. Sewer is available to the same area as the water service however Ayer, Ma doesn’t require residents to hook up if the line runs by the property therefore, some private water well and private septic systems service about 20% of the properties. Title V is the State law that requires an on-site septic system must meet certain standards and pass a test when a piece of property is sold. Most banks require the septic system be functioning and a home habitable to fund a residential loan however, there are exceptions to this rule.

As for private well regulations, it is at the discretion of the property owner to insure the water consumed from the property is potable however, both tests, the Title V test and the potable water test is the seller’s responsibility and are required prior to an Ayer real estate sale.

Trash Pick-up in Ayer, Ma
Ayer provides a transfer station (dump) located on the Groton-Harvard Road however, if curbside pick and/or construction debris pick-up there are several private companies that provide this service.

Electricity of Ayer, Ma
Electricity and Natural Gas is provided by National Grid
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Education of Ayer, Ma
The Ayer Ma Public School System includes elementary school, Page Hilltop, and it provides education from Pre-K to 5th. The middle school is shared by the neighboring town of Shirley and known locally as Ayer-Shirley Middle providing education for (6 – 8). The Ayer Senior High School is for students (9th -12th).

Every year the State of Massachusetts requires public school districts to participate in Standardized Testing called the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS). The test scores are published in the Boston Globe and are also located at the State of Massachusetts Elementary and Secondary Education

Massachusetts offers a program entitled “School Choice” which allows students from neighboring towns to attend the local public school if there are spaces available and if the local School Committee decides this is in the best interest of the district. If there are spaces available, a notice is published in the local paper. There has been some discussion as to parents of children exercising this option to provide some compensation to the schools district. Each district is different so, please check with administration officials for the current policy.

The Francis W. Parker Charter School, is another education option, technically located in Fort Devens. Admission is based on a lottery system for grades 7th -12th. One of Massachusetts’ first charter schools, Parker was started in 1995 by area parents and teachers committed to the principles of the Coalition of Essential Schools. According to the website, The Coalition of Essential Schools, were established in 1984 by Theodore R. Sizer at Brown University, is a national network of over 1,200 schools and Centers engaged in restructuring and redesigning schools to promote better student learning and achievement. Essential schools share a common set of ideas known as the Ten Common Principles, which call for schools to set clear and simple goals about the intellectual skills and knowledge to be mastered by all the school’s students; to lower teacher-student loads, personalize teaching and curriculum, and make student work the center of classroom activity; to award diplomas based on students’ "exhibition" of their mastery of the school’s program; to create an atmosphere of trust and respect for the school, faculty, students and parents; and to model democratic practices and honor diversity.
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Library of Ayer, Ma
The Ayer, Ma public library is part of the Central West Massachusetts library system (C/W MRS) with access to over 65 local libraries and 12 academic libraries. As a member of the network, library patrons have access to over one million items. The library hosts many activities and programs conducted throughout the year and are worth exploring.
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Terrain of Ayer, Ma
As with other towns in the area, the terrain of Ayer, Ma includes some rolling hills, ponds, a river and flat open areas that have been developed. The river and creek system for the most part is near the Oxbow Wildlife Refuge located in the northwest portion of the town and the ponds for swimming are located in the eastern part of the town.

Recreation of Ayer, Ma
Ayer has an organized sporting recreation area that includes playing fields for activities such as baseball, pick-up soccer, basketball court and a playground for young children. Located across the railroad tracks from downtown Ayer, Ma behind a residential neighborhood this area is relatively easy to find. Sandy Pond is the local town beach where children take swimming lessons in the summer and residents cool off on hot humid summer days.

Home to the terminus of the Nashua River Rail Trail this 11 mile long railroad line that has been re-purposed for biking, rollerblading, walking, running, wheelchairs and cross-country skiers runs through the towns of Ayer, Groton, Pepperell, Dunstable and on up into Nashua, New Hampshire.

The Red Tail Golf Course is located in the Fort Devens area of Ayer, Ma and was named after the Red Tail Hawks that soar overhead. This, membership only, club is an 18 hole, par 72 course is laid out over rolling wooded hills and meanders alongside streams and ponds.

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Points of Interest Ayer, Ma

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