Uxbridge (MA) Protects Legg Farm

UXBRIDGE, Massachusetts, 3/26/02: The Town of Uxbridge announced today its purchase of 56 acres on Henry Legg Road, bringing to a successful conclusion a six-month campaign to permanently protect Legg Farm as open space. The property was purchased from the Trust for Public Land (TPL), a national nonprofit conservation organization, which purchased Legg Farm last January to hold it off the market while funds were sought for its permanent protection.

Although the Town purchased the property for $75,000, thanks to a recently announced grant from the Commonwealth’s Self-Help Program, the Town will receive a reimbursement of 66 percent of the total purchase price, reducing its acquisition cost to $25,500. To help protect the property, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Management also acquired a conservation restriction over most of the land in February for $200,000.

“We would like to express our gratitude to everyone who worked so hard to save this valuable property,” said Julie Woods, vice chair of the Uxbridge Board of Selectmen. “The strong commitment of state funds and the overwhelming Town Meeting Vote, where only one person voted against the project, emphasizes the importance of preserving Uxbridge’s heritage and rural character. The Legg Farm property created a unique opportunity to accomplish both of these things.”

“The Legg Farm acquisition is especially important,” said John Pelczarski, supervisor of the Blackstone River and Canal Heritage State Park, “not only because it saves the farm landscape, precious wildlife habitat, and a possible Native American site, but also because it adds to a protected greenway and wildlife corridor along the Blackstone River, which is one of our main long range goals. I wish to thank the people of Uxbridge, the Trust for Public Land, and the staff at the Blackstone River Watershed Association and Massachusetts Department of Environmental Management for their hard work on this project.”

“We are delighted to have played a role in helping to protect this outstanding property, which is critical to protecting the water quality of both the Blackstone River and Pout Pond,” said TPL project manager Christie Anderberg. “The successful completion of this project is a testament to the strong coalition that worked so hard to make possible.”

“I applaud the efforts of the Uxbridge town officials who advocated for the preservation and purchase of this property in their community and Uxbridge voters who approved the town share of funding,” said State Senator Richard T. Moore. “Through their efforts and those of the Heritage Corridor and The Trust for Public Land, residents throughout the region and across the state will be able to continue to enjoy the scenic beauty of both the land and waterways of the Blackstone River Valley.”

“Legg Farm is a critical link between state and local landholdings and is a most significant acquisition,” said Joel Lerner of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs. “It is the first time ever that Uxbridge has applied for and received state Self-Help grant assistance. Thanks to the efforts of TPL and the town, an important archeological and scenic area within the Blackstone River National Corridor has been preserved.”

“It is inspiring to see the residents of Uxbridge rise to the cause when it comes to land acquisition issues,” stated Patti Millis of the Blackstone River Watershed Association, which also holds a conservation restriction on a portion of the property. “By acquiring the Legg Farm property, they have secured a sizable stretch of land along the Blackstone River from being developed in the future. In a sense, they managed to secure a piece of ‘Americana’ for themselves and for generations to come.”

With over 2,000 feet of frontage along the Blackstone River, Legg Farm is adjacent to the town-owned Pout Pond Reservation and to more than 500 acres at the Blackstone River and Canal Heritage State Park. The property is a distinctive mix of rolling fields and woodlands marked by old stonewalls and scenic overlooks. On its east side, the land fronts more than 750 feet of Pout Pond, and comprises much of the view currently enjoyed by visitors to the town beach. In addition to maintaining scenic views, preserving the farm will help safeguard the pond and river from pollution, such as the pesticides, fertilizers, oil, and antifreeze, associated with full-scale residential development.

The protection of Legg Farm was supported by a broad coalition, including area residents, local and state officials, the Town of Uxbridge, Blackstone River Watershed Association, Department of Environmental Management, Executive Office of Environmental Affairs, The Trust for Public Land, and Heritage Design Group, an engineering firm based in Uxbridge that provided pro bono services for the project. 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 1.4 million acres nationwide, including nearly 100,000 in New England. The Wall Street Journal’s Smart Money magazine recently named TPL the nation’s most efficient large conservation organization for the second year in a row, based on the percentage of funds dedicated to programs. For more information, call TPL’s Boston office at (617) 367-6200.