State donates six acres of land to Northampton for conservation, future nature trail
NORTHAMPTON — The state is giving the city more than six acres off Pomeroy Terrace near College Church, a move that may pave the way for a long-desired nature trail in the Meadows Conservation Area.
While the land is primarily being acquired for conservation purposes, Ward 3 residents and the Cutchins Programs for Children & Families, at 78 Pomeroy Terrace, are interested in building a trail in that part of the city.
The land is just north of a flood control dike, and would provide a key access point for a future trail, said Wayne Feiden, director of the Office of Planning and Development.
Additionally, the city intends to restore the area to a more natural state that it hopes will help with drainage. To do so, the city will remove some old tennis courts and may lower the elevation of some of the site outside of existing wetlands to provide more flood storage and wetlands habitat, Feiden said.
“We’d like to restore some of the land’s natural features,” Feiden said.
The state owns about 12 acres in the area and agreed to give up half thanks to legislation drafted by state Rep. Peter Kocot, D-Northampton, and approved by the Legislature. The 6.6-acre site will be permanently preserved.
“They don’t need it and we want it,” Feiden said. “We were first attracted to the land because of the drainage issues. That’s where it started.”
While the land was free, Feiden said the city had to pay to survey the property. It did so through a conservation fund created with Community Preservation Act funds.
The Meadows Conservation Area includes preserved land in four different locations throughout the Meadows, none of which are connected. The city’s long-term goal is to eventually make the sites contiguous, Feiden said.
The city hopes to work with a newly-formed Meadows City Conservation Coalition to manage the property, similar to arrangements with groups at conservation areas throughout the city. The coalition would help design the trail and perform clean-up duties.
The city is also close to inking a deal with the coalition to manage land in the Montview area and Sheldon Field.