At its September 20, 2012 meeting, the Westford Conservation Trust voted to pledge $8,000 to support efforts to conserve the O’Brien Farm in Parker Village.
This support from Westford’s oldest conservation organization was a great vote of confidence in the project .
In its deliberations, the board of the Conservation Trust considered the fact that by placing a conservation restriction on the property, no development of the farmland will ever be allowed.
The Westford Land Preservation Foundation, Inc., (WLPF) in partnership with the Sudbury Valley Trustees has been working all year to bring about the purchase of the development rights to the 25 acre farm located on Vose Road in the Parkerville section of Westford.
The value of the development rights has been valued at 1.275 million dollars. The owner of the property has agreed to sell the conservation restriction on 23 of the farm’s 25 acres for $930,000. The WLPF and the Sudbury Valley Trustees will hold the conservation restriction as co-trustees.
The $8,000 gift from the Conservation Trust brings the Land Preservation Foundation closer to its goal of raising $100,000 in private gifts and $85,000 in grants by October 15th. To date over $58,000 has been pledged or donated, and grant applications have been written and submitted.
The balance of the purchase price for the development rights is proposed to be funded by $760,000 in Community Preservation Act (CPA) funds. Both the Westford Conservation Commission and the Community Preservation Committee have voted unanimously to support the project and the use of CPA funds.
At an October 15th special town meeting, the voters of Westford will be asked to appropriate the money from available CPA funds. Because the CPA funds have already been raised through property taxes and state matching funds, no new taxes or borrowing will be needed.
The O’Brien Farm conservation effort presents a unique opportunity to preserve some of Westford’s most beautiful and valuable natural resources. The property contains open meadows, wooded upland, wetlands and Pond Brook. The existing trail network on the farm would be open to the public for hiking, snow shoeing, cross country skiing and other passive recreational uses. . Conservation, forestry, agricultural and educational activities would be also be allowed on the property.
Anyone interested in making a pledge to help conserve the farm may go to westfordlandpreservationfoundation.org. or contact Westford Land Preservation Foundation board member Ron Johnson at 978-92-4740, or firstname.lastname@example.org.