N. Andover’s Half-Mile Hill Protected (MA)

NORTH ANDOVER, Massachusetts, 6/27/02: The Town of North Andover and the Trust for Public Land (TPL) announced today that the 35-acre Half-Mile Hill property, located off of Osgood Street in North Andover, has been permanently protected as open space. The property contains more than 500 feet of frontage on Lake Cochichewick, the Town’s sole source of drinking water, and has long been a Town priority for protection.

“The protection of this magnificent property has truly helped to preserve the rural character of the Town,” said Rosemary Smedile, chair of the North Andover Board of Selectmen. “Half-Mile Hill’s location on the shores of Lake Cochichewick made it a high priority for acquisition by the Town, and the fact that no new taxes were required for the purchase makes this project an even bigger triumph.”

Last spring, at the request of North Andover’s Community Preservation Committee and Board of Selectmen, TPL negotiated an agreement to purchase the land for $2.65 million from the Mary Charles Trust. On May 14, Town Meeting voted to approve the use of the Town’s Community Preservation Act (CPA) funds for the purchase. The Town’s overall cost for the purchase was reduced to $2.25 million thanks to a $250,000 Self-Help Grant awarded by the Commonwealth’s Executive Office of Environmental Affairs (EOEA), and $150,000 in private donations raised by local project supporters.

“The Community Preservation Act has proven to be a very effective tool for land conservation in North Andover,” said Felipe Schwarz, a member of the North Andover Community Preservation Committee. “In just two years North Andover has used CPA funds to preserve land on both Half-Mile Hill and Carter Hill, ensuring that more than 60 acres within the Lake Cochichewick watershed will remain forever undeveloped.”

“This is a great example of the kind of work the Community Preservation Act was designed to support,” said TPL project manager Nellie Aikenhead. “By investing in the protection of land -more- The Trust for Public Land, page 2 around Lake Cochichewick, North Andover is creating a legacy of clean water, wildlife habitat, and scenic views. The Trust for Public Land is delighted to have assisted with this important conservation project.”

“It has been a great source of satisfaction at the Executive Office of Environmental Affairs to be able to assist North Andover in its efforts to protect properties around Lake Cochichewick,” said EOEA’s Division of Conservation Services director Joel A. Lerner. “It is particularly rewarding to see this project benefit from funding raised on the local level by the Community Preservation Act. The Town, the State, the Trust for Public Land, and countless volunteers have worked together to ensure that Half-Mile Hill will be cherished by future generations.”

Offering spectacular views of Lake Cochichewick, Essex County’s largest body of fresh water, and surrounding hills, Half-Mile Hill is at the center of a 500-acre corridor of protected open space that includes town-owned Osgood Hill, and Weir Hill Reservation, owned by the Trustees of Reservations. Protecting Half-Mile Hill has helped to fulfill North Andover’s long-term commitment to protection its drinking water supply and creating large tracts of open space for low-impact recreation.

The Trust for Public Land is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving land for people to enjoy as parks and open space. Since 1972, TPL has protected more than 1.4 million acres nationwide, including nearly 100,000 acres in New England.