NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

May 17, 2013

Georgetown voters approve funds for Wheeler Brook Farm

GEORGETOWN — At the May 6 Annual Town Meeting, Georgetown residents voted overwhelmingly to approve the expenditure of $150,000 from Community Preservation Act funds, partnering with Greenbelt in an effort to purchase a $250,000 conservation restriction on the 18-acre Wheeler Brook Farm.

There was a healthy and impassioned discussion centering on what a conservation restriction is, and whether town funds should be used to purchase less than the full fee interest in property.

Bob Morehouse, who has operated the farm along with his wife, Barb, for over 40 years, spoke about why he wants to permanently protect his farm: He and Barb want the people of Georgetown to continue to be able to bring their families to the farm to pick berries, to learn where vegetables and fruit come from, to be able to eat farm-fresh produce.

He asked residents to raise their hand if they’d bought vegetables or picked berries at Wheeler Brook Farm, and nearly everyone in the audience raised their hand.

Of the vote, Selectman Stephen Smith, who spoke in support of the article at Town Meeting, said in a press release, “I was very happy to see that Georgetown decisively voted at Town Meeting to preserve Wheeler Brook Farm. We took a positive step to protect an important piece of Georgetown’s culture and history. I am hopeful that many generations to come will enjoy this Georgetown treasure.”

Greenbelt is now embarking upon a $100,000 fundraising campaign in order to be able to complete the acquisition by the end of this year. The land trust’s efforts will include making grant applications to conservation funding sources and direct appeals to the community served by Wheeler Brook Farm.

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