To the Editor:
As the President of the Mattapoisett Land Trust and a citizen of the town, I would like to thank the participants at Town Meeting on Monday evening for approving Article 17 committing an additional $96,000 from Community Preservation Act funds toward the Nasketucket Bay Land Conservation Project. The Nasketucket Bay Land Conservation Project is a 400-acre deal comprised of environmentally-significant properties in Fairhaven and Mattapoisett and costing nearly $6 million. Funding commitments have already been made by Federal, Commonwealth, municipal and private sources, and this contribution with the $50,000 approved by fall Town Meeting as well as the $21,730 from a Buzzards Bay Watershed Municipal mini-grant will help preserve this important open space for the future.
The total contribution from Mattapoisett of $167,730 falls short of what was requested from Mattapoisett, however. Last year, the Town of Fairhaven committed $200,000 toward the project conditional on Mattapoisett making a similar commitment even though a majority of the property in the deal lies in Mattapoisett. In the fall of last year, the Buzzards Bay Coalition made a request of $128,000 from the Mattapoisett Community Preservation Committee to meet the Town’s share and to ensure that the funds would be available from Fairhaven. Based on its priorities, the CPC reduced that amount to the $96,000 that was subsequently approved and no additional funds were available in the Town budget to make up the difference. I respect the CPC’s decision since the members have the responsibility to allocate funds as they think most appropriate. But the fact remains that unless Mattapoisett can contribute an additional $32,270, Fairhaven will also cut its contribution.
The Mattapoisett Land Trust whole-heartedly backs this project, and to that end we have agreed to attempt to raise the additional funds to be donated to the Town and used to meet its $200,000 contribution request. However, this is not an easy undertaking for us given that we are currently engaged in our own fundraising campaign to acquire 22 acres of salt marsh and woodland on Mattapoisett Neck Road. We would encourage anyone who values open space in Mattapoisett or is concerned about the quality of Buzzards Bay to make a contribution to the MLT with a note that it is for the ‘Nasketucket Project.’ Contributions may be sent to the Mattapoisett Land Trust, P.O. Box 31, Mattapoisett, MA, 02739, or they can be made online at www.mattlandtrust.org. Any funds so designated will only be used for the Nasketucket Project, not for other MLT activities. It’s a worthwhile project and, in effect, your contribution will be matched dollar for dollar by Fairhaven.
Gary P. Johnson, President
Mattapoisett Land Trust, Inc.
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