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Community Preservation Funds Sought for Williamstown Park

By Stephen Dravis
Williamstown Correspondent
12:06AM / Friday, December 14, 2012
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The Conservation Commission is seeking CPA funds to drill well that will allow the bathrooms at Margaret Lindley Park to reopen.

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Conservation Commission on Thursday night asked for Community Preservation Act funds to help restore the bathhouse at Margaret Lindley Park on Cold Spring Road.

The park, a popular swimming hole for town residents, has for several years featured an unusable restroom facility thanks to the failure of the well that supplied water to the bathhouse. Portable toilet facilities have been supplied by the town.
The Con Comm voted Thursday to ask the Community Preservation Act Committee to recommend to town meeting that the town spend $65,000 of its CPA funds to drill a new well to supply the bathhouse.
"This will be a nice convenience to have the civility of having a bathhouse," Commissioner Philip McKnight said.
The Con Comm has an estimate for between $65,000 to $70,000 from Williamstown-based engineering firm Guntlow and Associates, which notes in the estimate that those numbers are "conservative."
"We would hope that the actual costs may be 25 percent less," the civil engineering firm wrote in its estimate.
McKnight said the application was made possible by a recent change in the commonwealth's CPA law that allows CPA funds to be spent on recreational facilities whether or not they were purchased originally with CPA funds. Before the change, facilities purchased outside the CPA program were not eligible for spending from the funds, generated by a surcharge on property taxes.
At town meeting in 2002, Williamstown's voters decided to adopt a 2 percent CPA property tax surcharge that excludes the first $100,000 of valuation.
"This sounds like a good use for CPA funds," said Conservation Commissioner Sarah Gardner, who joined in the unanimous vote to send the application to the CPC before its Dec. 21 deadline. The CPC is next scheduled to meet Jan. 9.
Thursday's meeting featured a larger than usual crowd, most of which went home disappointed after acting Chairman Van Ellet informed attendees there would be no discussion of the town's proposal to develop affordable housing on 30 acres of conserved land off Stratton Road known as the Lowry property.
Ellet explained that the decision to not hear discussion of Lowry (which was not on the commission's agenda) came at the request of Con Comm Chairman Hank Art, who was unable to attend Thursday's meeting.
"The chairman would like - if we're going to have a discussion on Lowry - for all commissioners to be present," Ellet said.
"If you have information you'd like us to read, we'd be happy to accept it."
Dr. Eric White points to 39 acres off Oblong Road for conservation. A large crowd hoping to speak about another plot of conserved lan 200 OK


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