The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, January 22, 2010

ConsCom considers Cranberry Bog House repairs

Warren Lyman, Lynn Knight and Deborah Geltner of the Land Stewardship Committee (LSC) gave a progress report to the Conservation Commission (ConsCom) on January 14 describing their efforts to achieve funding to repair the Cranberry Bog House on Curve Street. The LSC is a ConsCom subcommittee that assists with management of the town’s conservation parcels.

Lyman presented the ConsCom with a memo summarizing recent meetings with other Town boards and officials and a clear statement of the need. He reported that they had met with both the Long-Term Capital Requirements and Community Preservation (CPC) Committees. Both urged the ConsCom to submit the funding request this year. The CPC has requested a “Plan B” under which the Bog House would be demolished and replaced with a simple storage shed. The structure would have electricity but no heat.

Repairs are needed to address code violations identified by the Building Inspector, including inadequate support beams (See “CPC begins new grant cycle, hears Bog House repair request,” Mosquito, January 15). If the building becomes unsafe and unusable, cranberry growing is likely to end unless it is replaced or repaired.

According to the memo, “The Bog House was built in 1905 specifically to support operations at the Cranberry Bog, and it has been in continuous use for such purpose since then.” Lyman indicated that Mark Duffy regards the building as critical to his cranberry growing operation and that a future farmer would be unlikely to want to work the bog without it.

Duffy stores his machinery in the Bog House. His mechanic and workers at Great Brook Farm State Park currently live in the building. The lease for the residents is currently up for renewal. Duffy’s cranberry bog lease expires in 2015.

Commissioner Kelly Guarino explained that the cranberry operation is critical to Carlisle’s retaining its state-granted water rights. As the LSC memo indicates, if growing ceases, Chelmsford could again request rights to the water for a large municipal well field it would like to develop on its portion of the Cranberry Bog Reservation. The state denied Chelmsford such rights about ten years ago. Loss of Carlisle’s water rights could lead to a substantial decrease in flow through the Bog parcel and downstream to the State Park.

In discussing funding sources, Commissioner Tricia Smith pointed out that the Conservation Fund cannot be used for building repairs because a 1999 Town Meeting warrant article was amended to limit its use to land acquisition.

The ConsCom decided to apply for $165,000 in Community Preservation Funds and also to prepare a Warrant Article asking Town Meeting for the balance if less than full funding is provided by the CPC. The LSC will prepare the Community Preservation application and do the public relations work for the project. ∆

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