Agreement Signed on Bolton Apple Farm (MA)

BOLTON, Massachusetts, 4/27/04: The Trust for Public Land (TPL), a national nonprofit conservation organization, announced today that it has signed an agreement to purchase an Agricultural Preservation Restriction (APR) over approximately 100 acres of orchards and farmland on Sawyer Road in Bolton from the owners, Lois Grala and Robert Schartner.

Under the terms of the agreement, the Town of Bolton has until May 11 to approve its portion of the purchase price at both the May 3 Town Meeting and at the May 10 election.

Working in partnership with the Bolton Conservation Trust (BCT) and the Town of Bolton, TPL began negotiating to purchase the property in 2002. TPL came to agreement with the owners yesterday, just in time for the upcoming votes.

Earlier this month, TPL signed a separate agreement to purchase an APR over the adjacent 82-acre Nicewicz Farm (pronounced “NEESH-way”). Voters will be requested to approve $1.69 million in town funding, which is approximately 44 percent of the total $3.85 million purchase price. The remainder of the funding will come from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, which has preliminarily approved Agricultural Preservation Restriction funding for both projects, and from private foundations and individuals. A campaign to raise $150,000 from private sources was kicked off with a fundraiser at the Nashoba Valley Winery in November 2003.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for the Town,” reports Advisory Committee Chairman Chris Slade. “Nearly $2.2 million in funding for this project will come from state and private sources. Bolton has a one-time chance to capture that outside money, which is not likely to be available again in the future. In addition, both farms will continue to contribute to the town’s economy, as they will remain on the tax rolls.”

According to BCT Director Ken Swanton, “despite all the recent sprawl, agriculture is still central to our town’s identity. Most people know Bolton as the place they bring their kids to pick apples. Protecting the [Schartner and Nicewicz] farms is an important step in allowing the town to achieve its goal of preserving Bolton’s agricultural resources and apple-growing heritage.”

Both the Schartner and Nicewicz family farms have been in agricultural production since colonial times and include extensive orchards that are integral to one of Bolton’s largest undisturbed agricultural landscapes. When combined with adjacent protected farmland, the farms create a 300-acre agricultural area, including 3.7 miles of frontage on some of Bolton’s most rural roads.

At the May 3 annual town meeting, voters will have an opportunity to preserve both farms by approving a town contribution to supplement state and private funding. For the project to be completed, the purchase must also be approved at the May 10 election.

“We would like to thank the Nicewicz and Schartner/Grala families for providing us with the opportunity to protect these spectacular orchards,” stated TPL project manager Nellie Aikenhead. “Because of the generosity of the landowners and the large amount of state and private funding, the purchase is a great financial value for the town, and it will help to protect some of the most scenic farmland in Bolton.”

According to Ken Troup, Chairman of the Bolton Board of Selectmen, “the farms are incredibly important for the Town of Bolton, its character, and its future. The Board of Selectmen is very grateful to the Bolton Conservation Trust and the Trust for Public Land for bringing this opportunity to the voters.”