The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, May 7, 2010

Article 21: Bog House tops CPA funding requests

Town Meeting will vote on how to use CPA funds for the coming year, based on a list of requests which have been reviewed by the Community Preservation Committee (CPC). The CPC is recommending voters authorize: $165,000 for the restoration and rehabilitation of the Cranberry Bog House; $50,000 to fund the Housing Coordinator Position for the town for up to 28 hours per week in FY11; $15,000 to fund boardwalks, bridges, kiosks and signs for the Carlisle trails system to be used over the next five years; and $5,000 for the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail in Carlisle.

The Bog House was built in 1905 and has always been used to support agriculture by providing storage for agricultural equipment, work areas for processing agricultural products and housing agricultural workers.

Currently, Mark Duffy, the farmer at Great Brook Farm State Park leases the bottom two floors which include one apartment and areas for farm machinery storage. There is a second apartment on the third floor. The apartments have been used for housing for agricultural workers.

The CPC agreed that the Bog House is worth restoration. Land Stewardship Committee member Debbie Geltner explained that the building is essential to cranberry growing operations, supports agriculture in Carlisle, preserves a historic and scenic building, supports water management and ensures the water rights from the state.

The building is in need of significant repair. Twelve of the beams supporting the structure have rotted out or are infested with powder post beetles. The CPA funds would be used to address safety violations and strengthen part of the first floor; eradicate powder post beetles; redirect exterior water runoff, remove moldy sheetrock; repair rotted trim, support beams and posts, rotted foundation sill, the sliding basement door and rotted flooring. In addition, damaged shingles and a leaking shed roof would be repaired and rotted windows and missing door casings would be replaced. Geltner said, “If we don’t act now, the building will be condemned in time.” However, he added, “It’s quite repairable now.”

Water rights are another important reason to vote these funds. Duffy raises cranberries on 40 acres of land there. He has spent much time and effort in the irrigation system for the area. According to a document written by Land Stewardship Committee member Warren Lyman, Duffy has indicated that if he did not have use of the Bog House, he would not want to grow cranberries. If the town was not growing cranberries, the town would lose the state-granted water rights it currently has that are associated with the operation of the Cranberry Bog. If Carlisle loses these rights, it is likely that Chelmsford will seek them for their municipal water supply – perhaps as much as 300,000 gallons/day, as Chelmsford tried to obtain in 2000. At that time, Chelmsford was told by the state that Carlisle’s rights for agricultural use would prevail.

The Board of Selectmen, Finance Committee, the Conservation Commission, the Historical Commission and Long-Term Capital Requirements Committee all support the preservation of the Bog House. ∆

© 2010 The Carlisle Mosquito