May 7, 2018: Vote YES on Articles 55 & 56, Harwich Town Meeting

Water lilies on Cornelius Pond by Gus Romano

On May 7th (7:00 p.m., Harwich Community Center gym), Town Meeting voters have a chance to vote YES on Article 55 to preserve approx. 24 acres near Hawksnest State Park and YES on Article 56 to help preserve approx. 15 acres with more than 1,000 feet of shoreline on Cornelius Pond (aka Eldridge Pond).

Click here for the full Town Meeting Warrant.

Click here for a map to the Harwich Community Center.

 

SUMMARIES:

Article 55:
Town acquisition of approx. 24 acres near Hawksnest State Park

Voting YES on Article 55 authorizes the Selectmen to proceed with $369,000 in Community Preservation Act (CPA) funds to acquire approximately 24 acres located along Hawksnest Road across from the 200+ acre Hawksnest State Park. Preserving this land within the Six Ponds Special District helps to protect wildlife habitat and the public water supply since the land is located with the Zone of Contribution to municipal water supply wells. The Town’s use of Community Preservation Act (CPA) funds does not compete with other important town needs like the schools, police/fire, road repairs, and other services paid for by general revenue.

 

 

 

Article 56:
Town purchase of a conservation restriction on approx. 15 acres at Cornelius Pond (aka Eldridge Pond)

Cornelius Pond is called a “coastal plain pond,” and coastal plain ponds represent some of the most vulnerable natural areas of the Northeast. Created by the receding glacier that left massive melting blocks of ice in the coastal meltwater plain of Cape Cod about 18,000 years ago, these special ponds since filled with groundwater, and now support a variety of species, including rare plants & animals.

In May 2015, the approximately 15-acre landscape was listed for sale at $1.15 million. The Harwich Conservation Trust (HCT) negotiated a purchase & sale agreement for $800,000. An additional $50,000 is needed to remove a building, create a trailhead off Queen Anne Road, establish a walking trail, install signs & a bench, and pay for other stewardship expenses. Therefore, the total project cost is $850,000.

To meet the owner’s closing timeline and to give HCT time to raise funds, a nonprofit land trust service center (www.thecompact.net) temporarily pre-acquired the land on HCT’s behalf. This buy-and-hold action by The Compact of Cape Cod Conservation Trusts gives HCT until Dec. 31, 2018 to raise the necessary funds. 

Voting YES on Article 56 authorizes the Selectmen to proceed with the use of $200,000 in Community Preservation Act (CPA) funds to acquire a conservation restriction over the land. Again, the Town’s use of Community Preservation Act (CPA) funds does not compete with other important town needs like the schools, police/fire, road repairs, and other services paid for by general revenue. The $200,000 from the Town will help HCT advance toward it’s goal for preserving the land and help attract additional grant funding. After preserving the land, a walking trail loop will be made available to the public.

To see a video of the pondside landscape, please click here.