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WESTPORT, MA -- Starting December 1st The Trustees of Reservations will solicit proposals from interested buyers of the Oscar Palmer Farm located at 138 Adamsville Road in Westport. The Trustees seek a buyer who will restore the farm to active agriculture and rehabilitate the historic buildings on the property. All proposals are due by January 18th, 2010.
The Trustees, the Westport Land Conservation Trust (WLCT), and the Town of Westport through its Community Preservation Committee and Agricultural/Open Space Preservation Trust Fund Council have worked to protect this farm since 2002. In December 2008, The Trustees of Reservations acquired this 29-acre farm for $901,000 with support from WLCT. Now, The Trustees, WLCT, and the Town are working to protect the farm with permanent historic and conservation restrictions. Their goal is to sell the farm to a private buyer committed to agriculture and restoration of the historic buildings.
The Town of Westport and the local community have been extensively involved with the protection of the Palmer Farm. Since acquiring the farm in 2008, The Trustees and WLCT have worked with an advisory committee of community members with experience in farming and historic preservation as well as with various Town boards and committees to design these restrictions. The conservation restriction, covering the entire property, will protect resources such as prime farmland soils, wetlands and scenic resources, and it will require that the property be farmed, allowing for additional farm buildings in designated areas. The historic preservation restriction will ensure that the buildings be preserved and restored, while being flexible in allowing the future owner to determine their use.
The Trustees and WLCT have raised private funds and the Town of Westport has committed $250,000 through its Agricultural/Open Space Preservation Trust Fund. Additionally, voters at the 2008 Town Meeting approved $200,000 from the Community Preservation Fund to preserve and rehabilitate the historic buildings. $33,500 of the Community Preservation Funds will be used for the historic preservation restriction, allowing the future owner to apply directly to the Community Preservation Committee for the use of the remaining $166,500 to restore the buildings.
All future owners must adhere to the historic preservation and conservation restrictions. WLCT and the Town of Westport’s Conservation Commission will hold the conservation restriction on the entire farm and The Trustees of Reservations and the Town of Westport’s Historical Commission will hold an historic preservation restriction over the buildings. These entities will be responsible for the annual monitoring and enforcement of the restrictions. Based on a certified real estate appraisal of the farm with these restrictions, the price for the resale has been set at $250,000.
To facilitate the proposal process The Trustees and its partners will provide two workshops. On December 16th The Trustees will co-host a workshop with Farm Credit East, The Farm Service Agency and the Southeastern Massachusetts Agricultural Partnership. Presenters will discuss farm management plans, financing options and various public grant programs available to farmers. This workshop is open to the general public with pre-registration by calling 508.636.9228.
The Westport Historical Commission and The Trustees will host a workshop on January 3, 2011 to provide information regarding the historic preservation restriction on the Oscar Palmer Farm and to explain the approval process for the restoration of the buildings.
Starting December 1st the complete Request for Proposals can be found at: http://thetrustees.org/palmerfarm. This website will provide general information about the Palmer Farm as well as a list of all important dates, details about the restrictions, information about open houses, deadlines, workshop details, and updates throughout the proposal process.
More About The Trustees of Reservations
The Trustees are 100,000 members like you who love the outdoors and the distinctive charms of New England, and believe in celebrating and protecting them for current and future generations. Founded by open space visionary Charles Eliot in 1891, The Trustees “hold in trust,” and care for, 104 spectacular “reservations” located on more than 26,000 acres in 75 communities throughout Massachusetts. All Trustees’ reservations are open for the public to enjoy and range from working farms and historic homesteads – several of which are National Historic Landmarks – to formal gardens, barrier beaches, open meadows, woodland trails, mountain vistas, and a Gold LEED-certified green building in Leominster, the Doyle Center, which serves as a meeting space and gathering place for the conservation community.
The Trustees also work to promote healthy, active, green communities around the state by providing hundreds of year-round programs and events that inspire people of all ages to enjoy the outdoors and appreciate the history, nature, and culture of the Commonwealth. Most programs and events are free-of-charge or heavily discounted for members.
Accredited by the Land Trust Alliance, The Trustees are an established leader in the conservation movement and model for other land trusts nationally and internationally. In addition to its many reservations spanning 26,000 acres, The Trustees also hold perpetual conservation restrictions on more than 19,000 additional acres (a total larger than any other conservation organization in Massachusetts), and have worked with community partners to assist in the protection of an additional 16,000 acres around the Commonwealth.
One of the largest non-profits in the state of Massachusetts, The Trustees employ 152 full-time, 49 regular part-time, and 400 seasonal staff with expertise in ecology, education, historic resources, land protection, conservation, land management, and planning. To find out more and/or become a member, please contact www.thetrustees.org.
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