Campaign To Protect Legg Farm (MA) Begins
Uxbridge, MA, 10/16/2001: The Trust for Public Land (TPL), a nonprofit conservation organization, announced today that it is moving forward with a campaign to protect 62-acre Legg Farm on Henry Legg Road in Uxbridge. Located along the Blackstone River and adjacent to the town-owned Pout Pond Reservation, the farm is a distinctive mix of rolling fields and woodlands marked by old stone walls and scenic overlooks. The property is suitable for development, but state and local conservationists want to preserve it as open space.
Several weeks ago, TPL negotiated an agreement to purchase the property and began meeting with local officials to discuss the project. Under the terms of the agreement, TPL has until December 6, 2001 to buy the land for $525,000, but is working to create an opportunity for the Town of Uxbridge to purchase the property for a greatly reduced price of $75,000. Last night, the Uxbridge Board of Selectmen voiced strong support and voted to place the purchase of the property before Town Meeting on November 13, 2001.
The project’s total costs are still being finalized, but are estimated to be approximately $600,000, including acquisition, engineering and legal costs, interest costs, and a broker’s fee. To make up the gap, TPL is seeking funding from several other sources. The Department of Environmental Management, which owns nearby Blackstone River and Canal Heritage State Park, has pledged $150,000 to purchase a conservation easement over the farmland, and is considering the commitment of $50,000 in additional funds. Private fundraising efforts and the possible sale of 3 small house lots would likely provide the additional funding needed.
“As development pressure grows in southeastern Massachusetts, it threatens to permanently change the scenic character of communities like Uxbridge and irreversibly degrade public recreation areas, local drinking water supplies, and wildlife habitat,” said TPL project manager Christie Anderberg. “The Trust for Public Land is pleased to be helping the Town of Uxbridge and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts provide an opportunity to keep Legg Farm as open space.”
“The Pout Pond Reservation has always been one of my favorite places in town. Over the years I’ve fished, skated, taken photographs, and walked with my family there,” said Philip Wheelock, chair of the Board of Selectmen. “I see it as an extension of and link between the West River and Blackstone River systems and believe it to be one of the singular landscapes that defines the character of Uxbridge. From a municipal standpoint, I place the highest priority on the protection of Legg Farm and its shoreline on Pout Pond, thus ensuring that the Town of Uxbridge will be able to maintain the quality of its current recreation programs. From a personal standpoint, I feel it is important that we take care of and pass on to our children the resources at Pout Pond that so many of us enjoyed when we were growing up.”
“I enthusiastically endorse the protection of the Legg Farm property,” remarked Blackstone River and Canal Heritage State Park Supervisor John Pelczarski, “because it furthers our goal of protecting and preserving our natural, cultural, and historic resources for this generation and for future generations to come. The protection of Legg Farm is especially important not only because it would save open fields, precious wildlife habitat, and a possible Native American site, but also because it would help add to a protected Greenway and Wildlife Corridor along the Blackstone River between Worcester and Providence.”
On its east side, Legg Farm includes more than 750 feet of frontage on Pout Pond, and comprises much of the view currently enjoyed by visitors to the town beach. Visitors to the Blackstone River and Canal Heritage State Park also enjoy pastoral views of the Blackstone River as it winds through Legg Farm. In addition to maintaining scenic views, preserving the farm would help safeguard the pond and river from pollution, such as the pesticides, fertilizers, oil, and antifreeze associated with residential development. Owned by the Estate of Henry Legg, the property has been held off the market for nearly six years in hopes of a conservation purchase, and the government is now urging the estate to dispose of the property as soon as possible.
The Trust for Public Land is a national conservation organization dedicated to protecting land for people to enjoy as parks and open space. Since 1972, TPL has protected more than 1.2 million acres nationwide, including nearly 75,000 acres in New England. The Wall Street Journal’s Smart Money Magazine recently named TPL the nation’s most efficient large conservation charity, based on the percentage of funds dedicated to programs. For more information, call TPL’s Boston office at (617) 367-6200 or visit www.tpl.org.