Board Member, Brian Van Houwe, Former President, Ruth Pacheco, President, Caroly Shumway of Land Trust, Governor Lincoln Chafee & Paulette Hamilton, Town Administrator. Second row is Robert Ericson, AICP, Town Planner Photo courtesy - DEM
NORTH SMITHFIELD LAND TRUST AND TOWN AWARDED DEM OPEN SPACE GRANT FOR BOOTH POND
On November, 2nd, The North Smithfield Land Trust and the Town of North Smithfield were jointly awarded a $400,000 Open Space Grant for 38 acres of conservation land near and including half of Booth Pond. The Land Trust and Town of North Smithfield were one of 15 recipients of DEM’s Open Space grant awards, and received the award in a State House ceremony with Governor Lincoln Chafee and DEM Director Janet Coit.
The grant will ensure that nearly ¾ of the area around Booth Pond is protected; half is already protected by Woonsocket’s Booth Pond Conservation Area. “This grant for Booth Pond will help protect the drinking water of North Smithfield and Woonsocket, provide a community park for North Smithfield’s families, and help protect the state’s second most diverse pond for dragonflies,” says Caroly Shumway, President of the Land Trust. The grant will also protect a globally endangered dragonfly, along with countless other species that rely on the rare wetland habitat type.
This is the second time that the Land Trust was awarded the grant. The stumbling block last time was the delay in the wind turbine agreement between the town and a wind developer that would pay for debt on the town-required match for the project, along with a legal challenge to wind development in Portsmouth that delayed wind projects everywhere in the state. As a result of the delay, the grant period expired, and the Land Trust had to relinquish the grant.
The land arrangement is complicated. For the deal to succeed this time requires the cooperation and effort of all parties. The Land Trust, the Town of North Smithfield, the Town Council, the developer Brian Bucci, and the landowner, RAM Investments, managed by Al Brien. Fortunately, all are committed to ensuring that this deal finally comes to fruition.
Paulette Hamilton, Town Administrator, noted, “This is an extraordinary opportunity to achieve multiple Green Community objectives on one beautiful site. I thank Dr. Shumway the and the Land Trust for their tireless and devoted efforts to maintain the pristine character of our town and plan for our future.”