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Upton Selectmen Approve South St. Land Purchase and Sale Agreement

Members of the Recreation Commission told the Board of Selectmen they are recommending moving forward with purchasing a parcel of land on South St. for future development of sports fields as well as passive recreational activities. The discussion came during a July 11 meeting, which eventually resulted in the Board's approval to execute a purchase and sale agreement for the land.

Recreation Commission members Richard LaCross Jr., Paul Pirozzi, and Chair Richard Gazoorian explained to the Board their recommendation regarding the South St. property.

In April, a warrant article came before residents during a Special Town Meeting concerning the acquisition of nearly 70 acres on South St., of which 30 acres would eventually be developed into sports fields and other recreational activities. However, after hearing a number of concerns from residents about the project, including traffic flow and safety issues, town officials chose to temporarily pass on the article in order to investigate if there were other parcels of land in town to be purchased for the same purpose.

In May, requests for proposals were sought for parcels of land in town for sale. As a result, the town received two proposals; one for the South St. land and the other concerning a parcel of land located on East St. A Field Subcommittee was formed to evaluate both properties and included a member of the Recreation Committee, Mike Penko from the Conservation Commission, and resident Mike Gorman, who is also an architect. The Field Subcommittee evaluated both properties based on a long list of categories some of which included price, total acres, frontage, deed restrictions, buildable acres, and construction readiness. While both properties had advantages and disadvantages, the Subcommittee recommended continuing pursuing the property on South St. Some advantages the South St. parcel are included its price of $624,000, which is nearly $1 million less than the East St. property, as well as the amount of buildable acreage.

After the discussion, the Board commended the members of the Field Subcommittee and the Recreation Commission for their efforts and then approved the execution of the purchase and sale agreement. The agreement allows the town to place the South St. property under contract but it does not finalize the sale until residents approve the purchase at a future town meeting. The funding for the land would come out of Community Preservation Act funding if approved.

In related news, Town Manager Blythe Robinson reported that the town will pursue a Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities (PARC) grant for up to $400,000 to defray costs associated with the $624,000 South St. land acquisition.




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