SOUTHWICK – The Franklin Land Trust has a goal to purchase the 146-acre North Pond property that surrounds Congamond Lake in late May and is in the process of completing the purchase for the remaining 60 acres.
On March 19, Southwick voting residents voted in favor of a total of $1.7 million which will preserve the remaining 60 acres of the North Pond land. A combination of two warrant articles, the first warrant article was to see if the town would allow the CPC (Community Preservation Committee) to allocate $500,000 out of their account. The second article was to see if the town could bond the remaining $1.2 million, which will affect the tax rate.
Before the Franklin Land Trust can complete the purchase of the remaining 60 acres, they needed a 21e environmental site assessment to be conducted.
Franklin Land Trust is hiring Environmental Risk Advisors of Wilbraham to conduct the 21e. The duty of the environmental consultant service is to see if there’s any contamination or hazardous materials on or underneath the property.
Environmental Risk Advisors began by conducting a phase-one process, which involves doing a records search of the land and talking to individuals in town as well as looking at maps, walking the property, and taking photos.
“On an initial take is that they didn’t see anything of concern,” said Rich Hubbard, the Executive Director of the Franklin Land Trust.
Although, the Franklin Land Trust and Southwick officials have heard from some people in the community that they believe there could be contamination or hazardous material on the section of the 60 acres on the North Pond property.
“You want to make sure there isn’t any contamination out there,” said Select Board Vice-Chairman Russ Fox.
Hubbard added that they’re taking the input from the people in the community seriously.
“Obviously we want to know if it’s true or not just like the town wants to know whether it’s true or not,” said Hubbard.
As a result, Environmental Risk Advisors is looking into the possibility of conducting a phase two assessment. From Hubbard’s understanding, phase two could consist of a combination of ground radar or a test boring. Going to the measures of constructing some full-scale digging could also be an option.