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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Aldermen OK buying 40 acres of ex-farmland

NASHUA – The deal was months in the works, and the money to seal it accumulated over years.

With a unanimous vote Tuesday, the Board of Aldermen approved the purchase of a 40.34-acre tract of former farmland with the goal of preserving it for generations.

Ten of the 15 aldermen, an unusually high number, signed on as co-sponsors of the legislation approving the purchase.

The city is buying the tract along Groton Road in the southwest quadrant for $12,700 an acre, or a total cost of $512,318. The tract will include a bicycle and pedestrian trail, and wildlife habitat and hiking trails.

The land is owned by Albert W. Terrell. It has been owned by the Terrell family since 1777.

“This piece of land completes what started out as a pretty big jigsaw puzzle in the southwest,” Ward 5 Alderman Michael Tabacsko said.

Once in the public’s hands, the land will be a piece of a large area of protected land that extends from the southwest corner of Nashua into Dunstable, Mass. The Terrell land lies adjacent to the Groton Woods Conservation Easement and near Yudicky Farm, Lovewell’s Pond and the large Dunstable Land Trust.

Alderman-at-Large Barbara Pressly said the process of purchasing the land has come full circle. Pressly said it was her pleasure to sponsor legislation years ago in the state Senate that allowed fees paid by developers to be set aside into a fund for buying land for conservation.

Conservation Commission members, aldermen and other city officials said the land should be protected from development because of its history as farmland and value as wildlife habitat.

Features of the Terrell land include vernal pools, a mix of wetlands and uplands, old growth forests and edge and field habitats.

Ward 1 Alderman Kathy Vitale thanked the Conservation Commission for doing much of the work in bringing the agreement together.

Neither Albert Terrell nor any member of the Terrell family was present at the meeting. Terrell previously had told a reporter that he wouldn’t comment on the sale until it was finalized.

With the aldermen’s vote, the resolution approving the sale is awaiting the signature of Mayor Donnalee Lozeau.

The board of the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests voted to accept a conservation easement from the city. As part of the deal, the society will receive $10,000 for a stewardship endowment to maintain the easement.

Stewardship by the society will only extend to making sure conditions of the easement are followed, namely that the land not be developed and would remain closed to motor vehicles, as well as other restrictions.

The city would be responsible for creating trails, removing trash, managing the forest and other duties.

Patrick Meighan can be reached at 594-6518 or pmeighan@nashuatelegraph.com.