At an April 16th Public Hearing, the Sutton Board of Selectman voted to assign their “right of first refusal” on 73 acres of agricultural lands protected under Chapter 61A to the Manchaug Pond Foundation.
Chairman Michael Chizy called the property “a jewel of Sutton” noting its beauty as seen from the property’s edge on Waters Road as it overlooks the 100 acres of rolling pasture, forested land, and the abutting Manchaug Pond.
WHAT? A purchase and sales agreement signed with Holy Cross College for the entire near 100 acres, the horse barns, and family homestead looks to remove the main barn and training rink with preliminary plans to construct a 30,000 sq. foot building complex to house faculty, students and staff for overnight retreat events. (Watch the video of Holy Cross’ presentation)
WHY? The action taken by the Board of Selectman looks to protect one, if not THE most significant parcels, for Manchaug Pond from sale and development: the 73 acres of agricultural land used primarily as an equestrian training center and a miniature horse rescue stable is part of a larger piece totaling about 100 acres in Sutton and Douglas.
Of importance to the mission of the MPF in its protection of the 380 lake, is the property’s 875 feet of shoreline fisheries; the steep, forested slopes which bring water directly to the lake; numerous streams and 3 small ponds that are coldwater fisheries for brook trout which drain into the lake; a large area of state designated Priority Habitat for endangered species encompassing the waterfront area; the acreage directly abuts conservation land preserved as Waters Farm; and the fact that it is located in the Lake Manchaug Greenway and Wildlife Corridor which is a larger wildlife corridor initiative aimed at linking the Douglas State Forest and Sutton State Forest at Purgatory.
HOW? The Town of Sutton has given their right to purchase the property to Manchaug Pond’s non-profit 501(c)(3). This is a tremendous opportunity to save a significant parcel of property on Manchaug Pond and prevent a large development, as the MPF now become the “buyer” in the purchase and sales agreement.
WHEN? Now! We need to raise a little over $1.9 million for the total 100 acres and close the deal in less than 90 days. No small task, but definitely worth the try. We received our first pledge of $100,000 from a single donor this week getting us off to a great start!
WHERE? Right here – you and me! Spread the word! The MPF Board of Directors is asking everyone to help make this happen! A fundraising thermometer on the right side of this blog will tract our weekly efforts. We hope all readers will consider making a donation to this cause – no amount is too small as we race the clock! Use the Donate button for paypal and credit card donations or send your check to MPF, P.O. Box 154, Manchaug, MA 01526.
MPF is a 501(c)(3) non-profit public charity. All donations are fully tax-deductible. Memorial and honorary donations are welcome as well as matching employer gifts.