SOUTHWICK, Mass. (The Westfield News) – At the Annual Town Meeting on May 16, voters in Southwick voted in favor of accepting the $1 million for the CPC (Community Preservation Committee) to use towards preserving North Pond.
While the $1 million helps North Pond supporters and Franklin Land Trust inch closer to officially preserving the property, there is still a good amount of money that needs to be raised.
The latest appraisal for the 144-acre North Pond property was estimated at about $5 million. According to Mary Lynn Sabourin, the Director of Philanthropy at Franklin Land Trust, around $3.1 million has been raised.
With a lot of the money raised being from grants and state funding, Sabourin emphasized just how important the vote was at the Annual Town Meeting.
“I think the vote at town meeting really told us that folks in town are finding this to be a really important project and they’re really getting behind it,” said Sabourin. “I think the momentum is really only going to increase from now until December.”
When talking about December, Sabourin is referring to the fact that Franklin Land Trust’s request to extend the deadline to raise the $5 million was accepted by the property owner. Franklin Land Trust and North Pond supporters have until December 31, 2017 to raise the last $1.9 million.
Sabourin noted that time isn’t being wasted as there are a number of fundraising events taking place all summer.
On June 2nd, there will be a Band Jam event at Crabby Joe’s Restaurant, starting at 6 p.m. This event consists of a spaghetti and meatball dinner costing $5, followed by live music from Steve Piper and Cold Shot. Organizers are also encouraging anyone in the community to bring their instrument and “jam” with the live entertainment. A $10 cover charge will be taken at the door, and all proceeds and raffles will be donated to Save North Pond.
“Folks should come out and enjoy the music, have a good time and know that they’re supporting North Pond,” said Sabourin.
The next opportunity to raise money brings people outside for the North Pond golf tournament on June 11 at Edgewood Golf Course.
The tournament starts at 1 p.m. with registration beginning at Noon. It costs $95 to play, which includes green fees, golf cart, prizes, and a buffet dinner. Some of the prizes include a car from Curry Honda if someone gets a hole-in-one, and also a prize to be named later for an individual who gets their ball the closest to the pin on a specific hole.
After the tournament has concluded, a dinner and a silent auction will occur at the Fox Den Restaurant.
Sabourin said that roughly $20,000 was raised at the last North Pond golf tournament in the fall, and the goal is to exceed that number.
People can register to play by calling the Franklin Land Trust office at 413-625-9151.
The last fundraising opportunity to note is still a work in progress. Bob Asselin, a Southwick resident and North Pond supporter, wants to have a food truck for the summer to raise money for North Pond.
Asselin said that the truck would be located right by Whalley Park on Hudson Drive, and is planning on having it open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.
Asselin is hoping to find 12 volunteers to run the food cart. If anyone is interested in volunteering, contact Asselin at 413-221-3019. All volunteers will then be required to take a one-day food safety course that is required by the Town of Southwick Health Department.
Asselin said that once the food cart is underway, the hope is to raise $1,000 a week towards Save North Pond.