Two Extraordinary Conservation Opportunities in West Newbury
Greenbelt has two extraordinary opportunities to partner with West Newbury to protect two iconic landscapes: beautiful property on River Road along the Merrimack River, and one of West Newbury's most-beloved farms, Brown Spring Farm.
The River Road and Brown Spring Farm Conservation Projects were both enthusiastically approved by West Newbury at their spring Town Meeting.
River Road Conservation Project The River Road project includes 31 acres of woodlands and river views that would expand the town’s recreational assets, offering the potential for a paddle launch and parking on the Merrimack River. Greenbelt will also create a new trail that will wind through stands of birches, oaks, maples, and white pines, alongside stone walls and Coffin’s Stream.
West Newbury voted to approve $75,000 in Community Preservation Act (CPA) funds for the purchase of a CR on the River Road property. The sale of a CR to the Town will help offset the property's total purchase price of $215,000, which is 40% less than the market value. A restricted gift to Greenbelt of $50,000 brings the total needed from private fundraising to $90,000.
Greenbelt’s management of this land will create a new public open space, free for all to enjoy.
Brown Spring Farm
Greenbelt and West Newbury residents have the opportunity to preserve one of the town’s most beloved farms, Brown Spring Farm. Though just 10 acres, this farm is no minor part of West Newbury’s landscape. The vivid white Victorian home surrounded by fields of hay and vegetables has been the gateway to West Newbury for several generations.
It’s not just the visual loss from West Newbury’s bucolic landscape, but the loss of one more cornerstone of the region’s agricultural economy, and a reliable source of fresh, local food, that we are hoping to avoid through the purchase of a conservation restriction (CR) on Brown Spring Farm.
Greenbelt and the Town propose to co-acquire the CR for $403,500. West Newbury residents at Town Meeting voted to approve $200,000 in Community Preservation Act (CPA) funds toward the CR acquisition. Greenbelt will privately fundraise the remaining $203,500 for the CR purchase, plus cover the transactional costs.
The CR will permanently eliminate development of Brown Spring Farm, ensuring that the land is always available for farming. The existing farmhouse and farmstand will remain (or be replaced in similar styles and size).
After purchasing the CR and extinguishing valuable development rights forever, the restricted land will be purchased by a new farmer. This new farmer, Chris Grant of Grant Family Farm in Essex, plans to start a new farm with sustainably-grown vegetables, which will be available at Brown Spring Farm’s farmstand.
Greenbelt is grateful to several professional and staff photographers whose work is featured prominently within our website.
Thank you Jerry Monkman / ecophotography.com, Lynne Holton, Kindra Clineff, Adrian Scholes and John Raleigh.