Showing posts with label open space. Show all posts
Showing posts with label open space. Show all posts

Friday, April 9, 2021

FM #505 - Community Preservation Committee - 04/06/21 (audio)

FM #505 = This is the Franklin Matters radio show, number 505 in the series. 

This session of the radio show shares the Community Preservation Committee meeting held on Tuesday, April 6, 2021.

The meeting was conducted in a hybrid format: all but one of the Committee members, Town Administrator and key personnel, were in the Council Chambers; the public and one committee member were remote via conference bridge, all to adhere to the ‘social distancing’ requirements of this pandemic period.

Links to the meeting agenda and associated documents are included in the show notes. The recording runs about 75 minutes, so let’s listen to the Community Preservation Committee meeting.  

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We are now producing this in collaboration with Franklin.TV and Franklin Public Radio (wfpr.fm). 

This podcast is my public service effort for Franklin but we can't do it alone. We can always use your help.

How can you help?

  • If you can use the information that you find here, please tell your friends and neighbors
  • If you don't like something here, please let me know

Through this feedback loop we can continue to make improvements. I thank you for listening.

For additional information, please visit   Franklinmatters.org/  or www.franklin.news/

If you have questions or comments you can reach me directly at shersteve @ gmail dot com

The music for the intro and exit was provided by Michael Clark and the group "East of Shirley". The piece is titled "Ernesto, manana"  c. Michael Clark & Tintype Tunes, 2008 and used with their permission.

I hope you enjoy!

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You can also subscribe and listen to Franklin Matters audio on iTunes or your favorite podcast app; search in "podcasts" for "Franklin Matters"

FM #505 - Community Preservation Committee - 04/06/21 (audio)
FM #505 - Community Preservation Committee - 04/06/21 (audio)


Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Recap: Community Preservation Committee meeting Apr 6, 2021

Quick Recap:
  • Schedule of meetings for the remainder of this calendar year set and approved
  • Discussed and approved first budget for FY 2022, funds start accruing in July and won't be available until 4Q 2022 along with the State match
  • Video issue with Zoom in the Chambers paused meeting briefly as that system was needed to present/share the open space document
  • Presentation and discussion on open space, screen grabs in photo gallery, presentation doc to be posted to Town web page Wednesday and added here when available
  • Discussion on Chapter 61 and the nuances issues around contact and notifications. Conservation Commission did previously participate in a State workshop and has the documents from that. The Agriculture Commission also did a reach out to land owners of more than 7 acres to create awareness of the Chap 61 option.
 
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As with most meetings in this pandemic period, I took my notes via Twitter during the meeting reporting in real-time via the virtual session.
 
Photos captured during the meeting and shared via Twitter can be found in one album:https://photos.app.goo.gl/RFv5cvfsxB27nUCq6
 
 
The Twitter hashtag can be found online  #cpc0406

Open Space presentation  https://www.franklinma.gov/sites/g/files/vyhlif591/f/uploads/open_space_presentation_update_4-6-2021.pdf


  • Community Preservation Committee meeting coming up at 7 PM. https://franklinma.gov/community-preservation-committee The agenda doc https://franklinma.gov/sites/g/files/vyhlif591/f/agendas/cpc_agenda_4-6-2021_final.pdf #cpc0406
  • Meeting opens, one member remote. #cpc0406 minutes approved via roll call unanimous. 9-0 Meeting schedule discussion to cancel Jul and Aug meeting, moving the housing discussion to the Sep meeting. Motion to approve, passes 9-0 via roll call
  • Problem with Zoom video only on zoom tonight, the live stream is showing good video. #cpc0406
  • Motion on budget, seconded, passes via roll call #cpc0406 Quick break in meeting to address laptop issue, as mentioned not showing the room on Zoom (live stream fine) which also affects their presentation of the next item
  • Back in meeting, video fixed, so the presentation can be shown #cpc0406
  • Presentation copy to be posted to town web on Weds #cpc0406
  • More pages #cpc0406
  • Carly Fisher, Ag comm, provides update on what they did for Chap 61 notifications to lands of over 7 acres on what could be done to bring it to chapter. #cpc0406 Q on Davis Thayer and status? School Committee controls still, until they move, nothing for town to do
  • Discussion on use as possible police station, wherever it could be $20-30m and hence a building debt exclusion for that amount. #cpc0406 the civic center has eroded due to the growth of Dean (mostly true) interesting perspective shared
  • #cpc0406 entertain motion to adjourn, via roll call passes 9-0 That's all for tonight catch you next time! 

 

Recap: Community Preservation Committee meeting Apr 6, 2021
Recap: Community Preservation Committee meeting Apr 6, 2021


Monday, April 5, 2021

Community Preservation Committee - Agenda - Apr 6, 2021 - 7:00 PM

Community Preservation Committee Meeting
Agenda & Meeting Packet
April 6, 2021 = 7:00 PM


Agenda:
1. Approval of Minutes
2. Approval of Committee Meeting Schedule
3. FY22 Budget Approval
4. Open Space Presentation & Discussion

Recommended Committee Homework & Reading:
1. Open Space & Recreation Plan (https://www.franklinma.gov/sites/g/files/vyhlif591/f/uploads/updated_osrp.pdf)

Agenda doc with connection info


Community Preservation Committee - Agenda - Apr 6, 2021 - 7:00 PM
Community Preservation Committee - Agenda - Apr 6, 2021 - 7:00 PM


Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Community Preservation Act (CPA) For Franklin Discussion - 10/22/20 (audio)

FM #374 = This is the Franklin Matters radio show, number 374 in the series.

This session shares the conversation about the Community Preservation Act. The conversation was conducted on Thursday, Oct 22, 2020 via conference bridge to adhere to the ‘social distancing’ requirements of this pandemic period.

The voices you will hear in order of appearance will be that of mine, Monique Doyle, Roberta Trahan, and Susan Speers.

The show notes contain links to the Community Preservation Act webpage and other social media links. 

The conversation runs about 22 minutes.  Audio file = https://www.hipcast.com/podcast/H1F15s2K


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Community Preservation Act web page  https://www.cpaforfranklin.org/ 

Facebook page  https://www.facebook.com/cpaforfranklin 

Instagram account  https://www.instagram.com/cpa_for_franklin/ 

Twitter account  https://twitter.com/cpa_franklin 

--------------

We are now producing this in collaboration with Franklin.TV and Franklin Public Radio (wfpr.fm) or 102.9 on the Franklin area radio dial. 

This podcast is my public service effort for Franklin but we can't do it alone. We can always use your help.

How can you help?

  • If you can use the information that you find here, please tell your friends and neighbors
  • If you don't like something here, please let me know

Through this feedback loop we can continue to make improvements. I thank you for listening.

For additional information, please visit Franklinmatters.org/

If you have questions or comments you can reach me directly at shersteve @ gmail dot com

The music for the intro and exit was provided by Michael Clark and the group "East of Shirley". The piece is titled "Ernesto, manana"  c. Michael Clark & Tintype Tunes, 2008 and used with their permission.

I hope you enjoy!

------------------

You can also subscribe and listen to Franklin Matters audio on iTunes or your favorite podcast app; search in "podcasts" for "Franklin Matters"

Community Preservation Act (CPA) For Franklin Discussion - 10/22/20 (audio)
Community Preservation Act (CPA) For Franklin Discussion - 10/22/20 (audio)


Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Community Preservation Act: Frequently Asked Questions - answered by CPAForFranklin

Question of the Day: 
"Is there really any open space left to save in Franklin?"
 
Question of the Day: 
 “I don’t mind paying more on my taxes for saving open space, but I don’t want to pay more for the other uses. If money raised gets split up, will it really ever be enough to do anything with?”
 
Question of the day:
"Does adopting the CPA mean there will be an additional tax when I sell my home?"
 
Question of the day: 
"How is the CPA amount calculated? Will the CPA surcharge be figured as 2% of my property value under the CPA?"
 
Question of the Day: 
"Doesn’t the Town have enough affordable housing for those who need it?"
 
Question of the Day: 
“How many communities have adopted the CPA? And have any revoked it?” 
https://www.cpaforfranklin.org/2020/10/question-of-day-how-many-communities.html
 
Question of the Day:  
How is the allocation of local funds prioritized? 
 
Questions of the Day:  
1 - Who decides how Franklin’s CPA funds would be spent? 
2 - How will Franklin decide which projects will be funded? https://www.cpaforfranklin.org/2020/10/question-of-day-two-questions.html

 

If you have a question about how the Community Preservation Act (CPA) works, please email CPA4Franklin@gmail.com.  
 
As additional questions are asked and answered they will be posted to the page here https://www.cpaforfranklin.org/p/frequently-asked-questions.html
 


Monday, September 28, 2020

Three Voices of Franklin: Vote Yes for the Community Preservation Act

We urge residents to vote for Franklin’s future by voting Yes for the Community Preservation Act in the upcoming election!

This is our chance to fund Franklin’s special needs that too often go ignored or postponed, such as protecting open space for water supply protection and farms, parks, new playgrounds or improving current recreation, preserving the Brick School and the South Meeting House, and creating new community housing.

Our local CPA contributions will allow Franklin to receive a distribution from the state CPA fund. This state distribution comes from the fees paid on transactions at the Registry of Deeds. Those fees were raised in 2019, which mean that the state contribution is secured for the future. This year the state match is estimated to be more than 20% for the 176 cities and towns which have already voted CPA. Franklin would begin to receive a share of that pool in 2022 if CPA is approved.

This question asks us to approve a CPA surcharge of 2% on our property tax. Residential properties would get an automatic $100,000 exemption, and exemptions would be offered to low-income families and moderate-income seniors.

The average homeowner in Franklin would pay about $105 a year... or about $2 a week... less than one cup of coffee, let alone a latte! Far less than a year’s gym membership and less each week than a train ticket to Boston, parking in the MBTA lots or a new pencil case for a kindergarten student.

The funds raised by the CPA stay in Franklin in a dedicated fund for eligible projects. A five to nine-person committee will evaluate proposals annually and the final section will be made by the Town Council.

It’s estimated that the funds raised through CPA would be more than $1 Million a year and the fund would grow to allow Franklin to invest in many of the “wish list” goals for historic buildings, open space, parks and recreation, and much needed community housing for seniors and families – all projects that are often set aside for “someday.”

Well, if we pass CPA, we can make that “someday” possible. If each family gives a little, we all will get much more in return. Please look for the Community Preservation Act at the bottom of the ballot and vote “Yes”!

For more information, sign up at CPA4Franklin@gmail.com.


Monique Doyle 
Susan Speers
Roberta Trahan 

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1WTBRSlvC_HpcNpBg22mKyLDYhtpkF-S6/view?usp=sharing

 

Three Voices of Franklin: Yes for the Community Preservation Act
Three Voices of Franklin: Yes for the Community Preservation Act


Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Finance Committee - October 9, 2019 - Agenda

Town of Franklin 
Finance Committee Agenda (Amended) 

Wednesday, October 9, 2019 @ 6:00 PM

Municipal Building - Council Chambers 
355 East Central Street – 2nd Floor 
Franklin, Massachusetts 02038 

Meetings are recorded and broadcast on Franklin TV and may be recorded by others.

1. Call to Order 
2. Introduction of New Members Nicole Corbosiero and Mike Kasberg 
3. Vote for Officers 
4. Approval of Minutes 
5. Citizen’s Comments 
6. Capital Appropriation of Roads: Earmarking of Hotel Excise Tax ($900K)
7. Town Administrator Supplemental Budget Message 
8. FY20 Budget Adjustments; Schools, Facilities, Council on Aging, Veterans’ Services, Fire, Assessors, Town Administrator and Legal Services 
9. Land Acquisition Trust Fund Appropriation and Transfer 
10. Adjournment 

Balances as of June 30, 2019 
  • General Stabilization $ 6,072,943 
  • Recreation Fields Stabilization 302,065 
  • Traffic Stabilization 4,643 
  • Property Acquisition Stabilization 267,228 
  • Budget Stabilization 2,705 
  • Fire Truck Stabilization 207,612 
  • Open Space Acquisition Stabilization 1,107,863 
  • OPEB Trust 5,706,986
The agenda was shared from the Town of Franklin  https://www.franklinma.gov/sites/franklinma/files/agendas/finance_committee_agenda_10-9-19_amended_v2.pdf

Supporting documents released for this agenda (the before 'amended' document):
https://drive.google.com/file/d/13BAc_EoO2p_A9lxwIox9fIq_UoHR7yBs/view?usp=sharing


Del Carte Open Space
DelCarte Open Space

Monday, March 25, 2019

Charles River Meadowlands Initiative Schedules Public Forums

As they come close to completing their efforts, working with BETA, the Charles River Meadowlands Initiative (www.charlesrivermeadowlands.org) is presenting a series of community forums in Bellingham, Franklin and Medway in April. Any interested parties in these communities are invited to learn about the Charles River Meadowlands Initiative and share your thoughts.

State Rep. Jeff Roy and two of his colleagues (now no longer on Beacon Hill) helped secure a line item budget allocation to hire a consultant capable of professionally evaluating the recreation potential of the Charles River Meadowlands. 

The town of Franklin, in particular the Planning Department and Bryan Taberner, provided immeasurable help by receiving the funding on behalf of the Initiative and using their professional skills to help select a skilled consulting organization – the BETA Group.

Since late last year, BETA has been making field visits, developing maps, talking to officials in Franklin, Bellingham, and Medway, and developing concepts for consideration. They have helped identify real obstacles, for example potential rare-species areas that will likely have to be avoided. But the last few months have seen real, exciting progress.

The scheduled meetings include:

Thursday, April 11, 2019 - King Street Fire Station, 600 King Street, Franklin (enter the parking lot 6:30 PM from Constitution Boulevard. The meeting room entrance is on the King Street side of the building). In cooperation with the Franklin Department of Planning and Community Development

Tuesday, April 16, 2019 - Bellingham Town Hall, Arcand Meeting Room, 10 Mechanic Street 6:30 PM. In cooperation with the Bellingham Planning and Zoning Department

Monday, April 29, 2019 - Thayer Homestead, 2B Oak Street, Medway, 6:30PM. In cooperation with the Medway Open Space Committee and the Medway Community and Economic Development Department.

For more information, please contact Alan Earls, alan.r.earls@gmail.com

Charles River Meadowlands Initiative Schedules Public Forums
Charles River Meadowlands Initiative Schedules Public Forums

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Franklin Annual Report - 2018: Conservation Commission

The Franklin Conservation Commission is responsible for promoting and protecting the natural resources of Franklin and protecting the town’s watershed resources. A large part of the Commission’s attention is directed to administering Massachusetts and Franklin wetland protection laws and regulations. Those laws and regulations require Commission permits to work in or within 100 feet of a wetland, in the 100 year flood hazard zone or within 200 feet of a perennial stream.

The Commission comprises seven volunteer residents appointed for three year terms by the Town Administrator. The current members of the Commission have diverse professional experience related to environmental science, biology, engineering, and project management. Because of their different backgrounds, each commissioner is able to offer a different perspective during the review of applications for a wetland permit that ultimately benefits Franklin.

Franklin has continuously been well represented at the annual conference of the Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions in March, with Commissioners attending classes and workshops and talking with other Commissioners from across the state as well as lawyers, ecologists and engineers active in conservation.

The Commission continues to work on the DelCarte Area (aka the Franklin Reservoirs) off of Pleasant Street. There are a series of seven structures (six dams that had been originally used for cranberry farming and a stone wall that beavers had dammed) along Miller brook thru the 100+ acre DelCarte Area. The Commission retained the services of ESS, Inc. to undertake an ecological study to ascertain the flora and fauna viability in the pond and develop a long term management plan. 

This study, completed in the winter of 2015-6 has for the first time given the town a comprehensive understanding of exactly “what is there” and has developed a management plan to help keep the area viable as a true recreational jewel. The first phase of the Plan’s recommendations, the treatment of invasive plant species was undertaken in the spring/summer of 2017 and phase two will be undertaken in the spring/summer of 2018.

The Commission has requested additional Capital Improvement funds to help implement the next phases of this study in 2018-2019 as well as funds to implement the ADA recommendations under the master plan developed for DelCarte by Mass Audubon. This later plan was presented to the Commission in the fall of 2017.

The Commission will undertake improvements to the DelCarte Recreation Area in the late summer/early fall of 2018 to bring access to the trails and the water bodies up to ADA standards and the improved the overall aesthetics of the area. The Commission applied for a 2018 Recreation Trails grant to also offset the cost of ADA improvements in the DelCarte Recreation Area.

The Commission collects application fees for all permits that come before them. These fees paid for, among other things, the studies on the DelCarte recreation area and thus allowed the Commission to truly understand the issues facing the town in maintaining this area for quality recreation.

Notice of pond treatment at DelCarte
The Commission has also initiated a comprehensive study of the beaver population and associated issues within the pond area to come up with best practices to prevent irreparable damage to the pond ecosystem and surrounding private properties. The results have been received and are being evaluated by the Commission.

Since the last annual report, the Conservation Commission has received 61 permit applications to work within areas under their permitting jurisdiction.

The Commission also issued 30 certificates of completion for various projects and granted extensions to allow projects to finish.

In late April, the Commission conducted the third annual clean-up days at the DelCarte Recreation area. The event was also attended by a number of citizen volunteers who lent valuable assistance and manpower in helping to maintain this valuable town resource.

The Commission completed studies on Chapter 61, 61A & 61B parcels within the town as well as a study on all Commission-managed town-owned land. These studies can be used by the town’s decision makers to better understand the implications of purchasing or not purchasing property that becomes available and how to best manage properties or parcels already owned by the town. Recommendations on some of the parcels currently managed by the Commission have been made to the Town Council.

The Commission also completed a study of all land under its management jurisdiction. This will allow the Commission to better evaluate how to manage these parcels and to determine if any additional parcels should be under Commission jurisdiction or if some should in fact not be and to make appropriate recommendations to the Town Council.

The Commission has developed a series of standard operating procedures and educational snippets, which are posted on the Commission’s website, to help the citizenry understand some of the rationale behind the Commission’s operations and procedures.

The Commission would like to draw the attention of the Town’s residents to the many protected natural areas in the Town and the opportunities for passive recreation they enable:
  • The DelCarte Area, with parking off of Pleasant Street, has improved walking trails through woodlands along a series of ponds. Two canoe launches and an above-water boardwalk that completely connect the trail system have been installed;
  • The town forest has access off of Summer Street and trails thru woodlands and across Uncas Brook.

Other trail areas, not under the jurisdiction of the Commission include:
  • Indian Rock has good access off of both King Phillip Road and Lost Horse Trail with walking trails through woodlands near two large vernal pools and to the top of historic Indian Rock; The trails in this area were improved in the spring as part of an eagle scout project;
  • The Metacomet Land Trust owns several pieces of protected land, notably the walking trails off of Bridle Path and The Lady Bug Trail near JFK school;
  • The Franklin State Forest is accessible off of Grove Street and Forge Hill Road and boasts an extensive network of walking and ORV trails;
  • The SNETT trail goes all the way to Douglas. There is a Town parking lot off of Grove Street. The Trail section from Prospect Street into Bellingham has been reconstructed by the Dept. of Conservation and Recreation;
  • The expansive marsh near Interstate 495 exit #17 is the US Army Corps of Engineers Natural Valley Flood Storage Project, preserved to protect against downstream flooding in the Charles River basin. That marsh is along Mine Brook, the largest stream in town, draining about half of Franklin, starting at the extreme south end of Franklin, passing underneath Washington Street, Beaver Street, 495, Grove Street, West Central Street, 495 again, Beech Street, and Pond Street before finally meeting the Charles River on the Medway border

Other significant streams in Franklin include Shepards Brook, Miller Brook, Uncas Brook and Bubbling Brook. Lake Populatic is part of the Charles River, the other navigable ponds in Franklin are Spring (Green’s) Pond, Beaver Pond, and Uncas Pond, the last two of which are listed as Great Ponds by Mass DEP.

The Commission would also like the town residents to be aware of the potential tax savings of M.G. L. Chapter 61 (forest land), 61A (agricultural land) and 61B (recreational land). Such programs are designed to benefit the land owner via reducing the tax burden as well as to preserving and maintaining the quality and quantity of environmentally sensitive and natural areas within the commonwealth.

Conservation Commission Members:
William Batchelor , Chair
Tara Henrichon, Vice Chair
Jeff Livingstone Staci Dooney
Paul Harrington Jeff Milne
Angela Gelineau

Respectfully submitted,
William Batchelor, Chair


You can read the full Annual Report for 2018 online
https://www.franklinma.gov/sites/franklinma/files/uploads/franklin_2018_town_report.pdf

The archive of prior year annual reports
https://www.franklinma.gov/town-clerk/pages/annual-reports

invasive plant species visible at DelCarte
invasive plant species visible at DelCarte

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Proposed Shade Structures for DelCarte Open Space

The Conservation Commission meeting scheduled for Thursday, June 14 will hear about some plans for construction and enhancements to the DelCarte open space. According to the abutters letter and an image of the map showing the work area, the work will be done in and around the existing playground.

For more info, attend or tune into the meeting Thursday, June 14 at 7:15 PM

The agenda for the meeting can be found online
http://www.franklinma.gov/conservation/events/138433

or directly here
http://www.franklinma.gov/sites/franklinma/files/agendas/june_14_meet_0.pdf




Proposed Shade Structures for DelCarte Open Space
Proposed Shade Structures for DelCarte Open Space


Sunday, May 13, 2018

Charles River Meadowlands Initiative Walk/Cleanup - Apr 28

Several people interested in the Charles River Meadowlands Initiative participated in a walk and cleanup on Saturday from noon to 1:30 in conjunction with Town ‘Earth Day’ cleanup on April 28. 

Tom Betts, site supervisor at the Montage condominium project under construction on Pond Street, kindly gave permission to the group to park and access the adjacent town lands. The Montage project will eventually include a public access component and parking for reaching town and federal land. 

During the Saturday walk, attendees filled two bags with trash, explored existing trails, and assessed federal and state signage on the property borders. 

The Meadowlands Initiative is meeting next week with the town administration and representatives of the Army Corps of Engineers, which is in charge of some 400 acres of land in Franklin, to explore ways to improve public access and improve conservation.

For more about the Charles River Meadowlands Initiative visit their page
charlesrivermeadowlands.org

L-R Paul Sager, Alan Earls, Juanita Urban
L-R Paul Sager, Alan Earls, Juanita Urban

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

“It’s a matter of people willing to think about this"

From the Milford Daily News, articles of interest for Franklin:
"Awareness group Franklin in Focus will be holding a forum called “Where’s the Green” Saturday to discuss the future of open space in town. 
The forum will take place at the Franklin Senior Center from 10 a.m. to noon. Coordinator Alan Earls said that multiple town officials have been invited as well as a representative from Metacomet Land Trust to discuss conservation options. 
Franklin in Focus was formed by Franklin residents Earls and Monique Doyle in 2017 soon after election time in November. 
“I think we both felt that there was and is a need for change,” he said. “There are a lot of things in Franklin that aren’t as good, or effective, or efficient, or responsive, or transparent as they should be.”

Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)
http://www.milforddailynews.com/news/20180312/franklin-in-focus-to-discuss-open-space


Where’s the Green?  - Mar 17
Where’s the Green?  - Mar 17

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Where’s the Green? - Mar 17

A look at prospects for open space, agriculture, and recreational space in Franklin and a discussion about the town’s continued growth

On Saturday, March 17 Franklin in Focus is inviting all interested people to gather for a look at the past, present, and future of Franklin’s open space and continued growth with an eye to preserving town character, enhancing recreation and conservation, and encouraging agricultural activities.

We are inviting representatives from the Town Council, Town Conservation Commission and Planning Board, Metacomet Land Trust, Charles River Meadowlands Initiative, Franklin State Forest, and Franklin Bellingham Rail Trail, Agricultural Commission, and Community Garden and other to join us.

The event will be held at the Franklin Senior Center from 10 - noon.


For more information, contact franklininfocus@gmx.com

Where’s the Green?  - Mar 17
Where’s the Green?  - Mar 17

Friday, December 29, 2017

Review of Meadowlands Initiative in 2017; Events for your 2018 Calendar

The Charles River Meadowlands Initiative looks back on a busy 2017 and forward to a promising new year. During the course of the year we met several times as a group to discuss plans and opportunities. The First Universalist Society of Franklin was a generous host and Sue Bencuya and Paul Sager provided coordination and opened the premises for us. We have continued to receive guidance from the Metacomet Land Trust and active participation from Metacomet Treasurer Susan Speers.

We also had a chance to provide written input and suggestions to the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) in its periodic review of its Master Plan for the Charles River Natural Valley Storage Area, the land holdings of which are the focus of our efforts in Bellingham, Franklin, and Medway. Significantly, this document outlines the tripartite mission of the Corps relative to the CRNVSA – namely flood control, conservation, and recreation. During a public hearing held in Millis on April 19 by the USACE, a large contingent of Meadowlands people participated – offering comments and suggestions and strongly emphasizing the expectation that the Corps will do more in the future to support the recreation aspect of its mission through helping to develop access points, launching sites, etc.

We presume that concerns expressed at the hearing have been acknowledged and recognized in the document. At this writing, the finalized Master Plan is working its way through the USACE as it awaits final approval. When that occurs, we expect that the local Corps officials will be able to meet again and, in particular, will respond to a pending meeting request to discuss the Meadowlands, made by the Town of Franklin.

At the request of a Meadowlands participant from Bellingham we also shared the "message" about the desirability of preserving the lands surrounding the CRNVSA holdings as the town prepared to approve the economic development of a large land parcel. While we were pleased to have this opportunity, in fact the town had been working with the developer of the site along High Street in Bellingham, to reserve a buffer area close to the Charles for walking trails and to minimize disturbance to the land. This now appears to be "baked in" to the process – a real boon for a beautiful and now more accessible area.

State Representative Jeff Roy is continuing to monitor the fate of the earmark he proposed and passed along with Rep. Kevin Kuros and former Rep. John V. Fernandes on behalf of the Initiative. As is often the case with state spending, authorized funds are used subject to the discretion of the administration; so, whether this money will eventually turn into action at the relevant state agency is still anybody's guess.

In October, the Initiative held an ambitious walk – and slog – between Oak Street Extension in Franklin and White Ave in Franklin. The event attracted about 20 local residents. Although there is a narrow margin of dry Federal land, we initially opted for the wetter route to avoid brambles and private property. However, the route eventually emerged into beautiful upland fields and tall stands of evergreens rarely visited by people. Two Franklin town council candidates attended the event. The event showed that the long-term possibility of connecting multiple points along the eastern side of Mine Brook, though the route nearest Oak Street Extension will clearly require more engineering. [We have also been reminded by the Franklin Conservation Agent that ConCom restrictions will loom large.]

Finally, in December, we provided a short document – requested earlier in the year by the Franklin Town Administrator -- describing the most achievable near-term actions that the town could take to enhance access to the Meadowlands via town land. These suggestions included working closely with the developer of the Montage condominiums on Pond Street to link their planned trails to existing marked trails in town lands extending to White Avenue. At present, the developer is committed to providing a small public parking lot with access to a loop trail around the property and a spur directly to Mine Brook to permit launching small watercraft. [NOTE: Parallel discussions with the Town Planner have this action under study – with plans to get a town GPS team on site early in 2018 to make the proposal more concrete and specific.] Potential key additions to town lands were also outlined as well as a suggestion that signage be provided at trail heads and that the town investigate the feasibility of adding downstream access to Mine Brook. Lastly, we suggested a "second look" at a canoe launch to the Charles River proposed many years ago from Plain Street and put off due to site conditions. With the removal of the dam upstream of this location (Pearl St. Bellingham), the site may have new relevance.

Review of Meadowlands Initiative in 2017
Review of Meadowlands Initiative in 2017
Looking ahead to 2018 we hope to continue meeting periodically as needed for planning purposes but the year will be kicked off on Feb. 2 (Groundhog Day and World Wetlands Day) with an information session for the general public at the Franklin Public Library from 3-6 pm. We are also "sponsoring" a related activity in the Children's Room – a reading of "Ms. G's Shadowy Road to Fame" (a fictionalized treatment of the story of our official State Groundhog!) with Town Councilor Melanie Hamblen as volunteer reader.

On April 22 (Earth Day), we will lead a walk into the Franklin section of the Meadowlands – time and location to be announced.

Other suggestions for 2018 are welcome. Please send them along!

Sincerely,

Alan Earls​
www.charlesrivermeadowlands.org


Saturday, April 15, 2017

DelCarte Open Space: Story Walk today, bring guide book to help explore

The Franklin Public Library is partnering up with the Franklin Parks and Recreation Department to bring you a fun unique blend of story time and physical activity in the great outdoors! 

A Story Walk is a fun, educational activity that places a children’s story (literally a book taken apart) along a popular walking route, in this case, at DelCarte Park! 

The Story Walk is scheduled for 10:30 AM Saturday. It will be available after.



Bring along the guide book to explore DelCarte after you do the Story Walk, or use it the next time you go. 

If you haven't been, I encourage you to make a visit. It is well worth it. 

Yes, the playground is temporarily out of service but there are paths and real trees to play in and around.

The guidebook was put together by the Conservation Commission which has oversight responsibility for the area.




Videos that I have recorded over time give a sense of the natural and changing views at DelCarte
http://www.franklinmatters.org/2016/11/delcarte-open-space-111216-video.html

even on a grey day in March, there is a quiet beauty at DelCarte
even on a grey day in March, there is a quiet beauty at DelCarte

Sunday, March 26, 2017

ANNOUNCEMENT OF PUBLIC MEETING FOR PUBLIC COMMENTS TO THE MASTER PLAN CHARLES RIVER NATURAL VALLEY STORAGE AREA

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District, is updating the existing Master Plan at its Charles River Natural Valley Storage Area flood risk reduction project. The project is located along parts of the Charles River and its tributaries in eastern Massachusetts, and is an element of the Thames River Basin comprehensive flood risk reduction plan. As shown on the attached map, the Charles River Natural Valley Storage Area is located in Middlesex, Norfolk and Suffolk counties.

The purpose of the study is to assess natural resources of the project, determine regional needs and public desires, and develop an overall land and water management plan for the project.

The Master Plan draft proposal can be viewed at the Charles River Natural Valley Storage Area website: http://www.nae.usace.army.mil/Missions/Civil-Works/Flood-Risk­-Management/Massachusetts/Charles-River-NVS/

A public meeting to discuss proposed updates to the Master Plan and to provide public officials and concerned individuals the opportunity to give input to the process will be held beginning at 5 pm. on April 19, 2017. The meeting will be held at the Town of Millis Public Library, 961 Main Street, Millis, Massachusetts. If you are unable to attend the meeting, information or assistance in updating this Master Plan can be provided through the Project Manager, Joseph Zanca, at (978) 318-8419, by email at: joseph.l.zanca@usace.army.mil or at the following address:


U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District West Hill Dam,  WFD and CRNVSA 
Attn: Joseph Zanca, Project Manager
518 East Hartford Ave. 
Uxbridge, MA 01569

All comments must be received by close of business on Thursday, June 15, 2017.


the Charles River Natural Valley Storage Area is located in Middlesex, Norfolk and Suffolk counties.
the Charles River Natural Valley Storage Area is located in Middlesex, Norfolk and Suffolk counties

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

“There were several hundred acres and few access points"


"Like the majority of his constituents in Franklin and Medway, state Representative Jeffrey Roy is a frequent traveler on Interstate 495, the heavily traveled highway that bisects his district. 
But it wasn’t until two years ago, when Roy and another lawmaker met with Franklin resident Alan Earls, that he came to appreciate a stretch of woods and waterways between Exit 17 in Franklin and Exit 18 in Bellingham that spans both towns and a section of Medway. 
“I never knew some of the richness of the land, the history, how the trolleys traveled between Franklin and Bellingham 100 years ago,” said Roy, a Democrat who has lived in Franklin for 31 years. 
A year after their tour, Earls launched the Charles River Meadowlands Initiative, a grass-roots group formed to draw attention to the tracts of land — more than 400 acres in Franklin, about 350 acres in Bellingham, and another 50 in Medway — that are protected by the Army Corps of Engineers and open to the public."

Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)
http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/regionals/west/2017/02/17/this-land-protected-but-can-people-reach/uh2PYr2vBlI2nuaj4FwkfO/story.html

For more about the Charles River Meadowlands project follow the news as I can share it here. 

Visit them at their website  https://www.charlesrivermeadowlands.org/

Come to a future planning meeting to help the effort:
* Tues Mar 7, 6:30 PM, Dean Rm, First Universalist Soc. 262 Chestnut St, Franklin, MA
*  Tues Apr 4, 6:30 PM, Dean Rm, First Universalist Soc. 262 Chestnut St, Franklin, MA
*  Tues May 2, 6:30 PM, Dean Rm, First Universalist Soc. 262 Chestnut St, Franklin, MA

one of several photos of the meadowlands in snowy winter
one of several photos of the meadowlands in snowy winter

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Exploring the Charles River Meadowlands

On Jan. 31, the Charles River Meadowlands Initiative (www.charlesrivermeadowlands.org) led a group of activists, local officials from Bellingham, and legislators Jeff Roy and Kevin Kuros to discuss plans for 2017 as well as a long term vision for the area. 

The group started on Pearl Street in Bellingham where the town recently demolished an industrial facility and removed a mill dam, opening up access to a section of the Charles River. Later, the group visited two sites in Franklin that provide direct access to the Charles River Meadowlands and could become starting points for trails and bike paths in the future.

"The crucial thing we focused on today was the ways in which each of these areas along the Charles or its Mine Brook tributary can be linked, bringing our communities closer together, providing recreation, and even offering alternative transportation routes to shopping and entertainment," said Alan Earls, founder of the Initiative.

The next meeting of the Charles River Meadowlands initiative will be in the Dean Room of the First Universalist Society, Franklin at 262 Chestnut St, Franklin at 6:30 PM on Feb. 7. We will discuss these goals and we will be looking for help identifying access points and existing trails and planning more meetings with officials.

​For further information, contact Alan Earls (alan.r.earls@gmail.com)

Members of the Charles River Meadowlands Initiative met with officials from Bellingham and state legislators on Tuesday (Photo courtesy of Marjorie Turner-Holman)
Members of the Charles River Meadowlands Initiative met with officials from Bellingham and state legislators on Tuesday (Photo courtesy of Marjorie Turner-Holman)