Franklin Land Trust gearing up for annual town meeting vote on North Pond

Any possible extension will depend on the outcome of the annual town meeting

This Sunday’s event at Whalley Park will be in effort to continue the fundraising for preserving the North Pond property. (WNG File Photo)

SOUTHWICK, Mass. (The Westfield News) – Franklin Land Trust is continuing to make efforts towards raising money and ultimately preserving the North Pond property, which is a 146-acre parcel that is part of Congamond Lake.

The latest property appraisal means that Franklin Land Trust, the town of Southwick, and the community need to raise roughly $5 million, and the land-preserving organization is doing everything in its power to increase the chances of preserving the property.

“The official deadline is June 30, which we’re hoping to extend,” said Mary Lynn Sabourin, the Director of Philanthropy at Franklin Land Trust.

Any possible extension will depend on the outcome of the annual town meeting on May 16, in which Southwick residents will have the opportunity to vote for or against the $1 million that the town is asking to put towards the Save North Pond fund.

Alain Peteroy, the Director of Land Conservation at Franklin Land Trust, expressed just how critical the $1 million vote is for the project.

“It’s a make or break for the project,” said Peteroy.

Before voters make their decision, Franklin Land Trust and town officials have a couple more chances for the public to collect more information and awareness about the North Pond project.

On May 3 at 7 p.m., the CPC (Community Preservation Committee) will be holding an informational meeting in the land use room at the Southwick Town Hall for anyone in the community to attend to hear more about the project and ask questions that they might have.

Two days later, on May 5, Franklin Land Trust will host a bird walk on the North Pond property so people can take a first-hand look at the land that is attempting to be preserved.

The last scheduled event occurs on May 9, where residents can stop at Crabby Joe’s restaurant at 7:30 p.m. for another informational meeting.

“We’re hoping that these are opportunities for people,” said Peteroy.

While the importance of making the Southwick residents aware of the North Pond project is the top priority for Franklin Land Trust, they are also continuing the efforts to raise money.

Sabourin announced that their newest fundraiser, “Eat Out and Save North Pond”, has already been underway. Specific restaurants in Southwick have teamed up with Franklin Land Trust to help Save North Pond. With every customer bill that comes in from that particular restaurant, 10% of it goes towards the North Pond fund.

“We just thought it would be great to get other local restaurants involved,” said Sabourin. “We thought this would be a great way to benefit the restaurants.”

Coming up in May, three local restaurants will be taking part in the fundraiser. Tucker’s Restaurant will have their night on May 9, The Cove on May 17, and Crabby Joe’s on May 25.

For more information on the bird walk on May 5, or anything else regarding the North Pond project, visit Save North Pond or call 413-625-9151.

Copyright 2017 The Westfield News

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