Question 6: 102 Fruit Street – Pratt Farm and Scout Lodge
Question 6: Shall the Town of Hopkinton be allowed to exempt from the provisions of proposition two and one-half, so-called, the amounts required to pay for the bond issued in order to acquire a fee interest in a portion of the parcel of land located at 102 Fruit Street and shown as parcel R6-5-0 on the Assessors Map as shown on a plan?
The 2015 Annual Town Meeting voted to borrow $2.5 million for the purchase of a portion of the parcel of land, consisting of approximately 32.68 acres, located at 102 Fruit Street (commonly known as Pratt Farm) and shown as Lot 1 on a Plan of Land entitled “Plan of Land in Hopkinton, Mass (Middlesex County),” prepared by Metrowest Engineering, Inc., 75 Franklin Street, Framingham, MA 01702 (dated May 4, 2015), to be used for recreational purposes, water supply and access by the Town to adjacent properties owned by the Town. This borrowing was made contingent on the passage of a debt exclusion under Proposition 2 1/2, authorizing a temporary increase in the Town’s levy limit to cover the cost of borrowing for this purchase.
- A YES vote would mean that the funds are approved and the expenditure will proceed.
- A NO vote would mean that the funds are disapproved and the expenditure cannot proceed without a future ballot vote within 90 days.
This override is expected to cost the average single-family homeowner in town $43 in the first year of borrowing. The borrowing is expected over 15 years. Proponents cite four main reasons for supporting this purchase:
- Municipal Water Resource Area – The Pratt Farm is a valuable water resource as a potential municipal well site & ground water recharge area and is adjacent to the existing town wells. Acquisition may assist in meeting Storm Water Management Initiative. Abuts the Fruit Street site currently owned by the Town.
- Create a Unique Outdoor Resource – Following acquisition, the Town will create a Master Plan to identify and provide multiple resident uses of the property that will benefit the entire community, such as Trail Network, Day Use Areas, and Community Supported Agricultural Projects. A central element of proposed Master Plan will be a collaboration agreement with Hopkinton Scout Leaders Association, Inc. (HSLA). The Town will seek input from HSLA and the community for the site’s intended recreational and other uses.
- Beneficial Collaboration with Local Scouting – Prior to the Town’s purchase the Pratt Estate will transfer a 1.6 acre interest to enable HSLA to construct at its own cost a Scout Lodge that will be a permanent home for the hundreds of Hopkinton’s Cub, Boy, & Girl Scouts and their parents who serve as volunteer Scout Leaders. As part of the collaboration agreement, HSLA will encourage local scouting units to support creation of the site’s infrastructure, such as trails, through community service including Boy Scout Eagle projects and Girl Scout Gold Award projects. The infrastructure will be open for use by the entire community and will become a valued benefit to the Town as a whole.
- Preserve Vital Natural Resources – This site abuts existing town wells and was identified as a target acquisition in the 2013 Hopkinton Open Space Master Plan, and its purchase adheres to the Vision statement recently approved by the Town. The Personal Representative of the Pratt Estate is a fiduciary who is required to sell and develop the property if the Town does not purchase.