Stoughton Protects Libby Farm (MA)
STOUGHTON, Massachusetts, 4/2/03: The Town of Stoughton and the Trust for Public Land (TPL), a national nonprofit conservation organization, announced today that 81 scenic acres on West Street near the Easton town line have been permanently protected as open space. Known as Libby Farm, the land has long been the Town’s highest priority for protection because of its critical location in the middle of a corridor of existing conservation land. Although the full purchase price was $1,665,000, the Town’s cost was reduced to $1,140,000 thanks to a generous federal grant and a private fundraising campaign.
“It has been a great pleasure to work with the Stoughton officials and residents to save this special property,” said Nellie Aikenhead, project manager for the Trust for Public Land. “Libby Farm is one of the area’s defining landscapes, and we are grateful to the Libby family for agreeing to a conservation sale of this spectacular land.”
“Stoughton’s Open Space and Recreation Plan lays out the many financial and environmental benefits of preserving our open space and woodlands,” said Glenn Flierl of the Stoughton Open Space Committee. “The Libby Farm property is a prime example—the acquisition costs are low compared to the financial burden a development would have placed on schools and other town services; beautiful walking trails provide opportunities for hiking and bird-watching as well as access to the Bird Street lands; and the woods and wetlands protect our air and water. The Open Space Committee would like to thank everyone who helped us in protecting this land, and to welcome all the residents to come and enjoy it.”
Last summer, the Stoughton Board of Selectmen and Open Space Committee asked TPL for assistance in protecting Libby Farm. TPL negotiated an agreement to purchase the land from the Libby family and in January, Town Meeting voted 126 to 9 to approve the purchase.
Federal and private donations reduced the Town’s costs significantly. These included $500,000 from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund, distributed by the Executive Office of Environmental Affairs (EOEA); $15,000 from the William P. Wharton Trust; and $10,000 from the Fields Pond Foundation. A grant application with the Boston Foundation is pending.
“Many years ago, EOEA’s Department of Conservation Services provided funds for the purchase of the Stoughton Memorial Conservation Lands, the Lehan property, and the McNamara Farm,” said Joel A. Lerner, director of EOEA’s Division of Conservation Services. “The addition of the Libby Farm is a natural extension to this significant greenbelt.”
“The purchase of Libby Farm allows the fundamental character of the community to remain intact and makes a strong statement regarding Stoughton’s commitment to preserving open space,” said Senator Brian A. Joyce (D-Suffolk and Norfolk).
“The acquisition of the Libby property is great news for the Town of Stoughton and the many citizens who worked tirelessly to ensure that the 81-acre parcel would be added to the conservation area,” said Representative Louis Kafka (D-Sharon, Stoughton). “I applaud the Open Space Committee and all parties involved as to their commitment to the preservation of open space.”
“The addition of this pristine site to the existing conservation properties in Stoughton is a great accomplishment,” stated Representative William Galvin (D-Stoughton, Randolph, Avon, Canton). “The Libby Farm is a wonderful acquisition for the Town as it is surrounded by the nearly 500-acre Stoughton Memorial Conservation Lands. The federal, state, and local officials along with other interested parties involved in the acquisition should be applauded for their hard work on the purchase of this site.”
The Libby Farm property includes wetlands, forests, meadows, and rocky outcrops, and is crossed by popular hiking trails and old cart roads. It is surrounded on three sides by 630 acres of Town conservation land, including Stoughton Memorial Conservation Lands and the Edward F. McNamara Farm, which the Town purchased for permanent conservation in 2000. While the majority of Libby Farm will be managed as conservation land, the Town plans to convert four acres into recreation fields.
The Trust for Public Land (TPL) is a national nonprofit conservation organization conserving land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, and natural areas, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. Since its founding in 1972, TPL has helped protect more than 1.6 million acres of land in 45 states, including more than 10,000 acres in Massachusetts. TPL depends on the support and generosity of individuals, foundations, and businesses to achieve our land for people mission. For more information, please contact us at (617) 367-6200 or visit www.tpl.org/massachusetts.
Note to editors: For an electronic map or photograph of the property, contact Erin Rowland at (617) 367-6200 x321.