2007-07-03 / News

Land acquisition plan to be shared

By Tom Shevlin

A special Financial Town Meeting is being planned for mid-September to give voters the opportunity to approve or reject the town's proposed farmland acquisition plan.

At a special meeting of the Jamestown Town Council on June 28, councilors discussed the town's plan to provide up to $3 million set aside in the fiscal year 2008 budget toward the purchase of development rights for 160 acres for farmland preservation.

In addition to town money, purchasing costs are planned on being shared with private fund-raising conducted by the Conanicut Island Land Trust as well as private and public grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm and Ranch Land Protection Program, RI Agricultural Land Preservation Commission, and The Nature Conservancy.

According to Town Administrator Bruce Keiser, land trust officials are planning to begin a major fund-raising drive as early as this week. Once its fund-raising campaign is complete, it will be up to island voters to either approve or reject spending the remaining amount, which has already been set aside in this year's budget in the form of a $2.5 million debt service item and $500,000 in town reserve funds.

Closing date on the purchase is scheduled for Sept. 30. A total sale price was not disclosed.

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