The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, May 14, 2010

Article 21: Town Meeting gives solid support for Bog House

To go by the discussion at Town Meeting, there is solid support for retaining the Community Preservation Act and little controversy over spending $165,000 in CPA funds to shore up the Bog House. The motion in Article 21 (considered before Article 20) to spend $165,000 to fix up the house at the Cranberry Bog on Curve Street was presented to a quiet audience and passed unanimously without discussion.

Kelly Guarino, Chair of the Community Preservation Act Committee, provided a brief overview of the CPA (see box).

The Selectmen and Finance Committee had previously voted to support all motions under Article 21 and all passed unanimously.

Motion 1 of Article 21 assigned this year’s raised funds to their appropriate buckets and reserved the principal and interest payment for the bond used to purchase the Benfield Land. It was noted there are three more years of payments before Benfield is paid off.

Motion 2 of Article 21 proposed $165,000 from the CPA Historic Reserve Fund be transferred to the Conservation Commission for preservation and restoration of the Cranberry Bog House at 750 to 752 Curve Street. Warren Lyman presented the Article, noting the building has been in use since 1905 as a storage facility, processing area for produce, and housing for farm workers. The town purchased the Bog and house in 1986, and it is now “the most diverse, most used” area of town holdings. The Bog is used for agriculture, recreation of many kinds and conservation. Lyman noted the house is historic and provides “essential support” to cranberry growing operations. The cranberry operation includes water control structures maintained by farmer Duffy and state-granted water rights that would be claimed by Chelmsford if the bog harvesting were discontinued.

The House restoration project would fix insect and water damage and prevent future seepage, repair holes in the floors, improve insulation and bring the building up to code so the apartments can be used. Without these repairs the house will continue to deteriorate and may eventually need to be removed, potentially bringing an end to farming of the bog as “there would be no place to put equipment and house workers.” The lease for the bog is up in 2015 and a repaired house would likely mean higher bids.

Motion 3 of Article 21 proposed that $50,000 be transferred from the Housing Reserve Fund to pay for a Community Housing Coordinator 28 hours per week. It was presented by Alan Lehotsky, Chair of the Housing Authority, the committee sponsoring the motion jointly with the Selectmen. The Coordinator would work with seniors and families with housing needs and help prevent foreclosures. Among the responsibilities would be the Housing Production Plan due to the state in October 2010, as well as administration of the Benfield project.

Motion 4 of Article 21 proposed that $15,000 be allocated to the Carlisle Trails Committee from Undesignated funds to provide boardwalks, bridges, kiosks and signs. It passed unanimously. Marc Lamere noted that the committee had received $15,000 five years ago and about $2,000 is left. All labor is by volunteers and the funds are used for materials, permits, and specialty tools. Other grant funds have also been used. Among completed projects is a 240-foot boardwalk in the Davis Corridor. Tim Hult of the Community Preservation Committee noted the funds given to the Trails Committee “leverages state money and the unbelievable efforts of a group of people,” adding, “community spirit is a benefit.”

Motion 5 of Article 21 proposed increasing the allocation for the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail From $20,000 to $25,000 with $5,000 from undesignated funds. This is Carlisle’s share of a $270,000 shortfall. Abutter Margaret Darling rose to “heartily recommend passage.”

Motion 6 of Article 2 extended the funding for the Open Space and Recreation Plan from 2012 to 2014 to conform with a two-year state extension. ∆

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