, Newburyport, MA

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March 19, 2014

More parkland for Newburyport

City and state buy Welch property for $1 million

NEWBURYPORT — City councilors Monday night voted to authorize a spending allocation that will allow the city, with state help, to buy 10.2 acres on Curzon Mill Road and put it aside as open space.

Cost of the Curzon Mill Road Open Space Protection Project will be about $1 million, city officials said.

The city’s Community Preservation Committee will contribute $535,000 from its open space fund; the state’s Department of Conservation and Recreation is slated to add about $425,000, according the municipal leaders.

Greenbelt, the Essex County Land Trust, is scheduled to put in about $50,000.

The land is located near the end of Curzon Mill Road, a dead-end street that runs next to Maudslay State Park in the westernmost end of the city, close to the Merrimack River.

“Rarely does land capture as many of the conservation values we endeavor to preserve as these 10.22 acres,” said Edward Becker, executive director of Greenbelt, in a statement.

“Acquisition of the ‘Welch properties’ will fill a significant gap in a contiguous corridor of public recreational land and habitat, including the adjacent Maudslay State Park and the Newburyport drinking water supply lands.”

The Welch properties refer to the two parcels being purchased, one owned by Judge Richard E. Welch III and Judith Bliss Welch (5 acres), and another owned by Christina Marquand Welch (5.22 acres), according to city records.

The two parcels are appraised at about $1.5 million, but negotiations resulted in a lower cost, municipal leaders said.

City officials said the DCR would maintain the land, which could mean grooming trails, fields and woods.

“The city will own the underlying ‘fee of the land’ and the state will hold conservation restrictions on each property,” said Geordie Vining, senior project manager of the city’s Office of Planning and Development.

Councilors waived a waiting period relating to documents sent to them by the CPC so they can finalize the acquisition by the end of the fiscal year (June 30).

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