By Alexandra Molnar, Contributing Writer
Northborough – At its monthly meeting May 7 the Community Preservation Committee (CPC) voted in favor of two separate motions to appropriate funds to both the Northborough Town Common Committee (NTCC) and the Northborough Historical Commission.
The NTCC made an extensive presentation about its goals and plans in hopes of receiving funding to execute appraisals on two parcels that they would like the town to purchase to use as a town common/green space.
The CPC voted unanimously to allot not more than $2,000 dollars from the CPC Administrative Fund to the NTCC in order to have the properties at 45 West Main Street and 20 Rear Gale Street appraised. The appraisals would help to determine if purchasing the properties is viable.
The NTCC plans to submit an application for Open Space Acquisition to the CPC by the July 31 deadline in order to have a chance to appear on the warrant of the 2016 Town Meeting with a proposal to transform the town-owned 39 West Main St. into a green space and purchase the abutting parcels.
The goal of the NTCC is to “create usable green space in the heart of our community.” Its plans are to unite four parcels of land to create a town common to serve as a gathering space for the community and a “central anchor spot for town activities and events.”
The town of Northborough already owns two parcels included in the envisioned town common site, the properties of 39 West Main St. and the War Memorial site. The NTCC proposes the acquisition of two abutting parcels, 45 West Main St. and 20 Rear Gale St., whose owners have indicated interest in the project.
Once the NTCC gets the properties appraised, it will have a clearer idea regarding how feasible it would be for the town to purchase the two properties. The appraisal process should take about four weeks once the committee selects an appraiser.
The town of Northborough would not be able to pay any more for the properties than the appraised value.
The NTCC also appealed to the CPC to provide input into the NTCC’s application for Open Space Acquisition. Its application will propose that a portion of the Community Preservation Act money be used for the development of a town common. The CPC will review all applications and vote on them in the fall of 2015.
If the NTCC application is accepted, it may appear on the warrant for Town Meeting 2016 where residents would be able to vote for or against the town’s purchase of the open space.
In addition to voting in favor of providing funds to the NTCC, after long debate, the CPC also allocated not more than $7,500 dollars to the Northborough Historical Commission. The Commission will use the funding to have an historic market analysis conducted on the White Cliffs property.
The market analysis will help to determine if the building has any economically viable uses and if so, what the best possible use would be while keeping historical preservation in mind.
The voters at the April 29 Annual Town Meeting passed a motion to “move” an article that would establish White Cliffs as a historic district. This was done at the request of the Historic District Commission who said the property’s owners and the town have agreed to extend the demolition delay bylaw until Dec. 31, 2015.