This article is part of a continuing series on the Hopkinton Annual Town Meeting scheduled for May 1, 2023 at 7:00 PM. There are 48 articles to discuss at the 2023 Town Meeting; what follows are the most important agenda items for Hopkinton residents to consider. Each of these articles requires a Yes or No vote from registered voters in attendance.
Article 24: Community Preservation Recommendations
There is a lot to unpack here, readers. The article primarily enables the spending of Community Preservation Funds to make land purchases for trail development and to build structures that improve the dog park and Housing Authority.
Though they are all bundled in a single article, by rule land purchases require a 2/3 vote to pass, so they will be discussed during the meeting as individual agenda items.
It’s also worth noting that a “Yes” vote is merely an authorization, not a mandate. The town can decide not to purchase the land if the seller wants too much, for example.
>> EXPLORE the proposed Land Purchases in this interactive Google Earth project
- The Jenner property (42 acres) between Saddle Hill and Cedar street. A conservation restriction will be placed within 5 years and trails will be designed and constructed.
- Connelly Land (18 acres). A conservation restriction will be placed within 5 years and trails will be designed and constructed.
- Three NSTAR parcels between Berry Acres and the 110 Grill (17 acres total). A conservation restriction will be placed within 5 years and trails will be designed and constructed.
- The McDonough property (35 acres) near Lake Whitehall. A conservation restriction will be placed within 5 years and trails will be designed and constructed.
- Trailhead parking on Ash street.
- New bridges and boardwalks on various trails
- Additional shade structures and benches at the Fruit Street dog park.
- Additional shade structures, a covered bus shelter and walkways at the Hopkinton Housing Authority.
- Design, bidding, construction and parking for a cricket pitch and Little League baseball field at Pyne Field.
- Additional security cameras at Sandy Beach and Fruit Street Athletic Fields.
- Preliminary engineering, wetlands assessment, and trail mapping for the town-owned portions of the Western Route Trail.
Why this matters: As evidenced by our extensive network of trails, Hopkinton residents have always placed a high value on conserving land for public use. These land purchases help offset the inevitable deforestation of subdivision development.
According to the Washington Post, cricket is the fastest growing youth sport in the United States, with an estimated 200,000 players nationwide. Hopkinton Parks & Rec have fielded calls for years to build a designated cricket pitch (players now compete on the grass soccer fields at Fruit Street).
Articles 47 & 48: Abolish Upper Charles Trail Committee (UCTC) and Establish Subcommittee, and Eliminate UCTC spending
By all accounts, this is a confusing article, since it seeks to disband the current Upper Charles Trail Committee (UCTC) and establish a subcommittee which ostensibly will perform the same functions. So why?
The current UCTC reports up through the Select Board. This Citizens Petition is put forward by several citizens, with Peter LaGoy, the current chair of the Trails Coordination and Management Committee (TCMC) signing as well. The subcommittee contemplated in this amendment would report to the TCMC.
Why this matters: This seems to be a power play. While LaGoy has publicly stated that he would resign as chair of the TCMC were this to pass, there are clear differences between the plans put forth by the UCTC and TCMC with respect to the proposed route of the trail. Further, Article 48 would suspend funding for the development of the trail along Route 85 (Section 7), effectively stopping development of Section 7 for the time being.