Present and Future Benefit
I am writing in support of environmental Articles 5, 6, 7, 9, 17 and 18 because I believe that their passage will benefit present and future townspeople. Articles 5, 6 and 7 support the sewering of the Lost Lake Area; Article 9 supports the Conservation Commission's request for funds to be transferred from the Community Preservation Fund to the Conservation Fund; Article 17 approves funds for the Conservation Commission to purchase the 109 acre Chicopee Row property; and, Article 18 supports engineering funding for the replacement of Fitch's Bridge.
Article 5, 6 and 7 address a long delayed and serious health, environmental and recreational problem in the Lost Lake area that is only growing worse. Everyone in Groton is affected in some way by this problem. Passage of this Article will protect the town's newly purchased Whitney well site from contamination; will protect Lost Lake homeowner's wells from contamination from adjoining septic systems; will prevent untreated sewage and nutrients from entering Knops Pond and lost Lake, increasing aquatic plant growth and degrading the quality of water for fish, wildlife and recreational uses such as fishing, boating and swimming; will increase the value of homes and add revenue to the town; will make the town-owned public Sargisson's Beach, once a popular swimming area where Red Cross swimming lessons were given, attractive and useful once again for swimming and picnicking.
Article 9 would approve the Conservation Commission's request for $25,000 to be transferred from the Community Preservation Fund to the Conservation Commission Fund to complete the purchase cost of two lots totaling 109 acres of prime wetlands and adjoining lands off Chicopee Row that host vernal pools, rare and endangered species and provide a contiiguous connection with the town-owned McLain's Woods, Fitch's Woods and Watson Way conservation areas. The proposed acquisition is located across Chicopee Row from William's Barn and Sorhaug Woods and provides outstanding trail connections. This proposed acquisition is top priority for the Conservation Commission to meet all of its requirements for purchase.
Article 17 would give the Conservation Commission approval to use their funds to purchase these top priority 109 acres of Chicopee Row properties. Because of the properties' special environmental features, it is most likely that the town will be reimbursed for $400,000 of its $716,000 purchase cost.
Article 18 would appropriate $100,000 for an engineering plan for the replacement of Fitch's Bridge over the Nashua River. It requires a 2/3 vote. The estimated cost for the total project is between $650,000 and $850,000. Fitch's Bridge has been barricaded and closed to travel of any kind for many years. It is an unsafe structure, presenting an ongoing town liability and responsibility. Replacement of this historic bridge with an attractive pre-fabricated bridge would become a valued benefit to our Groton community by offering a pleasing passage over the Nashua River for pedestrians, cyclists and equestrians connecting trails and providing an emergency water interconnection for the town. It would fulfill one of Groton's Master Plan goals. Regarding cost, Town Manager Mark Haddad states, "The Town of Groton is in a very good financial condition to fund this project at this time." Delay will only increase its cost. There is no better time than NOW.
I hope that you will consider voting for the passage of all six of these articles protecting our natural resource, adding quality to the life we enjoy in Groton and in the long term reducing costs to the town.
Long Hill Road