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Franklin Land Trust seeking more support from CPC

SOUTHWICK – The Franklin Land Trust is continuing to lobby for more money to be raised to save an area of land adjacent to North Pond from being developed.

During a CPC (Community Preservation Committee) meeting last week, Alain Peteroy of the Franklin Land Trust spoke with the committee about the latest information going on with the project. Peteroy submitted an application with the CPC to request $500,000 from them to donate towards the cause.

According to Peteroy, if the CPC were to accept the request, the $500,000 would go towards the purchase price to buy the remaining 62 acres of the North Pond property. Due to new members on the committee, the CPC decided to table the discussion of the request until their next meeting on Thursday.

A view of the water on North Pond. (WNG File Photo)

The Franklin Land Trust has already helped another 83 acres to be given to the Massachusetts Division of Fish and Wildlife in order to expand the Southwick Wildlife Management Area on North Pond.

In June, the Franklin Land Trust officially signed and reached an agreement with the North Pond land owner, Denise LeClair-Robbins, to extend the deadline to raise a total of $5 million in order to preserve North Pond land. 

The previous deadline was June 30, 2018, but due to the agreement between the land owner and Franklin Land Trust, the new deadline is June 30, 2019. The two parties were able to come to an agreement just days before the 2018 deadline expired.

There still remains $1.5 million to be raised of the total $5 million that is the latest appraised value of the North Pond land.

Peteroy stressed the importance of preserving the land and has been actively reaching out to town, state, and private donors to help with the cause.

 “That’s what we’re actively doing but we can’t raise all that from that actual angle,” said Peteroy. “The state is going to benefit from this project tremendously if they don’t have a dozen or so homes in their wildlife management area.”

While there is plenty of work to be done before the deadline of June 30, 2019, Peteroy is pleased by the local support, including over 350 donors that consist of mostly individuals and some small family foundations.

“That shows that there’s a lot of support for this from the town,” said Peteroy.

The CPC meeting on Thursday starts at 7 p.m. in the land use room at the Southwick Town Hall.

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