ARLINGTON —The Select Board inched closer to buying a $287,000 parcel for town recreation, but not without some last minute jockeying for a deal on the sticker price.
The Arlington Select Board on Monday approved sending a letter to Bly Hollow, the current owners of the 420-acre Red Mountain Parcel the town is considering purchasing, asking for a $40,000 discount on the purchase price because of erosion damage on the property.
The board also approved sending a memorandum of understanding to the Arlington Recreation and Park Committee, spelling out that all funds for the purchase and upkeep of the property be placed under the control of the Select Board upon closing.
Both items came as a result of a request by board member Cynthia Browning at the board’s Sept. 13 meeting, at which Browning said without the two actions, she was not sure she could support moving forward with the plan.
The town is considering whether to purchase the property, which through fundraising would come at no cost to the town, according to a town committee that studied the potential purchase.
But concerns over access points, dangerous sections of trail, erosion and opposition from some neighbors originally caused the town board to vote against the purchase.
An outcry of support for the plan made the Select Board reconsider, and the town is now five months into a six-month effort to answer questions and solve issues before deciding again whether to buy.
At Monday’s meeting, the board went into executive session to discuss the matter and came out approving the request for a discount and a memorandum of understanding with the town Recreation Committee detailing who would control the funds.
In the executive session, board members Browning, Matthew Bykowski, Glenn Sherman and Chairman Dan Harvey, increased the amount of the discount requested from $20,000 to $30,000, up to $40,000. There is enough town money to fully buy the property now, but the $40,000 discount would aid in upkeep and repairs.
Browning, who said Sept. 13 she was “very concerned about the cost of reconditioning the trails,” on Monday explained the reasoning.
“We’ve discovered there’s a lot of damage to logging roads,” Browning said. “We have to be able to fix that erosion.”
Browning said that, because of damage caused by summer storms, there is concern the amount of money the town will have available won’t be enough to repair the damage.
“We want more resources available to maintain the property,” Browning said.
The board also approved a memorandum of understanding, which says “the Arlington Recreation and Park Committee, Inc. shall arrange for the transfer of all funds raised for this project to the Town of Arlington to be deposited in an appropriately-designated sinking fund, and that the Arlington Recreation and Park Committee, Inc. shall not reserve any portion of these funds for their own use.”
It also says the use of the funds “shall be at the sole discretion of the Town of Arlington Select Board and that the Arlington Recreation and Park Committee, Inc. shall not seek the authority to decide the use or disposal of these funds in any way in perpetuity.”