May 31, 2011
Comments on Adams Farm and Open Space made by Cliff Snuffer during the Board of Selectmen’s Meeting on May 31, 2011
I suppose I come as close as Jack [Wiley] and Ralph Knobel and a few others to being [one of] “the early stage guys” in the acquisition of Adams Farm as conservation and preservation and open space for the town of Walpole. I have heard over the last several weeks comments like “Adams Farm is a bunch of wasted space.” I would like to challenge this from the standpoint that if you take a look at it and you don’t see something necessarily happening on it, you have described the very essence of conservation, preservation and being stewards of open space.
So reflecting on this, what did the citizens of the town of Walpole accomplish when they overwhelmingly voted to buy the Isaacs’ property, now known as Adams Farm? It preserved and protected hundreds of acres of land from development, at that time roughly 200 houses. We made the mantra that said “if you’re going to get the bill, you might as well get the land.” That bill would have been going on forever, and this land payment will end in a couple of short years, and the jewel that many people refer to as Adams Farm will be owned in complete and fully paid for by the citizens of the town of Walpole. It also allowed the town of Walpole to become extraordinarily unique among the 351 cities and towns in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. In fact, back then Governor Cellucci awarded the town his highest honor – the Commonwealth’s highest honor – for accepting open space, its preservation and its conservation. It also helped protect and grow a uniquely diverse bird and wildlife population, as well as enhancing its natural habitat. Not a bunch of asphalt…not a bunch of brick and mortar…but habitat for the animals and the population up there.
It brought together a community spirit like I have never seen in my life, not in my 40 years in this town of Walpole. The spirit of volunteerism – people working together, donating their time, their skills, and their money, in the spirit of preservation and conservation and protection that resurrected and respected and created a unique biodiversity zone that we now call Adams Farm. It allowed for the building [of the barn and pavilion] at no cost to the taxpayer…no additional cost to the taxpayer…and I might add that through the Adams Farm Committee and the Friends of Adams Farm, you have seen those expenses paid for by contributions and other aspects (sic).
It allowed for that (sic) building, at no cost to the taxpayer, [of] a barn and pavilion, accompanied by a butterfly garden. Sounds very elitist, but if you’ve got a troubled day and you need a place to go to unwind and to get your head together and to have the pure thought of life, that’s a great place to go. I recommend it to all of you. And I would also suggest to you that it allows you to breathe the wonderful, clean air that is [the result of] the preservation and conservation of open space. It allowed for the creation of the community garden concept – 60+ mini farms, if you will. You’ve already heard Jack Wiley refer to the tens of thousands of pounds [of produce] in just the last couple of years that have been donated to people in need. I submit to you [that] these are the natural activities of conservation, preservation and respecting of open space. It also allowed Walpole to qualify [for] and receive a $300,000 [state] grant…unheard of as it relates to open space…unheard of as it relates to a little town called Walpole. But we got it. And we helped defer [reduce] some of the cost. I could go on because I’m passionate about Adams Farm. Suffice (sic) to say, if this is a bunch of wasted space, I want more of it.