Gross supports Article 11
By STEPHEN BEALE
GOFFSTOWN - A proposed $2 million bond for land purchases and easements has even more potential than its price tag may suggest.
The bond, which appears on the ballot as Article 11, would first be spent on the purchase of 27 acres of land at 70 Center Street. That will cost $700,000. Out of the remainder, $500,000 will be spend on developing the land for town use, $250,000 will go towards conservation easements, and the balance of about $550,000 will offset future land purchases and fees associated with the bond.
The bond would have no immediate impact on taxes in 2008. It would instead show up in 2009 as 19 cents on the tax rate, decreasing over the following 15 to 20 years.
The bond is crucial for the future of the town, according to selectman Scott Gross. In the short-term he said the land would alleviate an existing shortage of recreational fields.
There soon could be even more of a demand for fields, if the owner of the five Little League fields next to the Villa Augustina School stops leasing them to the town for $1 a year. The town also expects to lose field space when the town cemetery on North Mast Street expands, Gross said.
The new land on Center Street will support six 60-foot Little League or softball fields, two 90-foot baseball diamonds, and six rectangular fields for soccer and other sports, according to Gross.
Otherwise, Gross said the town has no firm plans for the land. “It’s a blank canvas in which the community can develop what that space will look like in the future,” he said.
The town does intend to combine it with two abutting parcels which it already owns. One is a sand pit which will be flattened out. The other is the site of the transfer station. In all, Gross said there will be a total area of more than 75 acres, granting the town even more flexibility in what in can do with the land.
There is enough space for a new town or school building in the future, Gross said. At this point, he said, the town does not have a definite idea of what would be built. “I don’t know what it could be,” Gross said. “It could be a senior center for all I know.”
Gross said some of the land could also be used as a park by some residents. “It really does satisfy all these things,” he said.
Gross said it is important that the town purchase the land now so that it will have the ability to plan decades into the future. In the past, he said planning for the town infrastructure has been fragmented and uncoordinated. “At some point, the community has to plan for its future and that’s incumbent upon us as the town fathers,” Gross said.
Reproduced by the Goffstown