Saturday, May 7, 2016

“This investment is an enormous step forward”

Last week the Massachusetts House of Representatives successfully passed its 2017 fiscal year budget. Included in the $39.5 billion dollar budget was a $25,000 dollar earmark proposed by Representatives Jeffrey Roy (D—Franklin), Kevin Kuros, (R—Uxbridge) and John Fernandes (D—Milford) to help develop a management and access plan for a large plot of Army Corps of Engineers land.

“This money will help develop a plan to improve access to some beautiful recreational space in the area, and will go a long way to ensuring the property meets its full potential,” said Representative Roy, “This particular property has sat vastly unused for many years and can provide some additional recreational opportunities in the area. We look forward to working with the Army Corps of Engineers and local officials to open up this natural gem to residents while maintaining its natural beauty.”

"After touring this land with Representative Roy and Mr. Earls," said Representative Kuros, "I was convinced that we needed to work to improve access and utilization of this hidden gem that spans our districts. This gets us started on our way toward that goal."

“I was happy to sponsor this budget amendment to develop a comprehensive management and access plan,” said Representative Fernandes, “The plan will go a long way to exploring the resources that can become available to Medway, Franklin, and Bellingham.”

“This investment is an enormous step forward,” said Franklin resident, Alan Earls, who has organized a citizens group, the Charles River Meadowlands Initiative, to spearhead this effort. “Those of us involved with the initiative are grateful that Representatives Roy, Kuros, and Fernandes share our vision and see the great potential for this public space,” he added.

The US Army Corps of Engineers-controlled flood plain lands located in Bellingham, Franklin, and Medway represent one of the largest parcels of land in the region suitable for both wildlife habitat and passive recreation (e.g. walking, fishing, boating, etc.). Growth and development in the region has reduced the number of actual and potential access points to this land; preventing the public from enjoying and using this land while at the same time making it difficult for authorities to prevent unauthorized uses such as ATVs.

The appropriation of $25,000 was included in the House of representatives budget under the care of the Massachusetts Department of Fish & Wildlife, which has operational jurisdiction over this property, to expand current signage, thereby strengthening enforcement of regulations and supervisory activities, and to work with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the communities of Franklin, Bellingham, and Medway and interested parties to develop a management and access plan. This plan will also consider ways in which any improvements to public access can mesh with EPA requirements to reduce runoff into the Charles River watershed.

Charles River Meadowlands photo
Charles River Meadowlands photo

Find out more about the Charles River Meadowlands on their new webpage

No comments:

Post a Comment