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Leominster, MA – May 18, 2015 – The Trustees of Reservations (The Trustees), the nation’s first regional land trust and one of Massachusetts’ largest conservation and preservation nonprofits, announced the construction of a new Visitor Center Pavilion at Farandnear Reservation will begin on June 24, 2015, with preparations now underway. The Pavilion will serve as an outdoor, community gathering and venue space featuring seating, restrooms, a fire pit and an interpretive exhibit wall. Construction is expected to be completed in September with a community celebration and dedication planned for October. The Trustees are also pleased to share the new, completed Master Plan with the community after a year-long planning process. The plan was created to determine the vision for the property as a community park and to chart a path forward to balance stewardship of its natural resources with the creation of a meaningful visitor and community experience.
“We are excited that Farandnear will now be able to offer a new, outdoor community space for gatherings and outdoor educational programs in Shirley, serving local and Central Massachusetts residents,” says Joanna Ballantine, Trustees Regional Director. “We are delighted with the robust nature of community input we received and look forward to creating more, opportunities for partnerships with areas non-profits and businesses to create public programming and events for children, families, and volunteer land stewards. Together, we can assure that future generation care for and benefit from the magic of Farandnear Reservation.”
The Trustees acquired Farandear, located in Shirley, in 2009. The 89-acre estate property had formerly been held in the care of the Goodspeed-Banks family for over 100 years. Its name comes from the land being “near enough to be a seasonal residence, but far enough away to require a two day journey by horse and carriage in the early twentieth century.” The Trustees embarked on a master planning process last year to determine, with community input, the larger vision for the property that would balance stewardship and natural resource integrity with the creation of a visitor experience that embodies the “spirit of place” and has a set of guiding principles for future public programs, stewardship and engagement activities. The plan also includes a detailed assessment of the pinetum, Arthur Banks’ special collection of conifers, the development of the Visitor Center Pavilion, and a sustainable parking area. The Plan can be found on The Trustees website.
The plan will be reviewed and revised as needed allowing for the care of the property related to natural changes in the ecology such as tree health, wildlife habitat, and site hydrology. Community engagement throughout the process included participation from family members and neighbors and open forums in the Town Hall.
In collaboration with the Bull Run and the Shirley Conservation Commission and others, planning is also underway for an upcoming Fall Foliage Dedication of the new Visitor Center Pavilion.
The Trustees of Reservations (The Trustees) “hold in trust” and care for properties, or “reservations,” of irreplaceable scenic, historic, and natural significance for the general public to enjoy. Founded by open space visionary Charles Eliot in 1891, The Trustees is the world’s oldest land trust and one of Massachusetts’ largest conservation and preservation nonprofits. Supported by more than 100,000 members and donors and thousands of volunteers, The Trustees own and manage 113 spectacular reservations – from working farms and historic homesteads and landscaped gardens, to community parks, barrier beaches, mountain vistas and woodland trials – located on more than 26,000 acres throughout the Commonwealth. With hundreds of outreach programs, workshops, camps, concerts and events annually designed to engage all ages in its mission, The Trustees invite you to Find Your Place and get out and experience the natural beauty and culture our state has to offer. For more information, visit www.thetrustees.org.