Vote Tuesday to preserve our island's historic farms
Here's a great opportunity to make a difference: Jamestowners have been asked to gather on Tuesday evening next week at the Lawn Avenue School for a special Financial Town Meeting to consider the preservation of 145 acres of historic farm land.
We are all familiar with the ongoing campaign to save our island's farms from development. Two farms will be preserved - the Dutra farm and the Neale farm. Both properties are part of the beautiful vistas seen to the east along North Main Road.
Funding to purchase the development rights to these farms will come from three sources. The first is private donations through the Conanicut Island Land Trust. You've seen the cow signs along North Main Road and have read the land trust's advertisements in the Press. Please give generously.
The second source is a combination of federal and state grants. This will comprise 55 percent of the total funding required.
The third source will be our tax dollars. That is why we are having the special Financial Town Meeting next week. Voters have been asked to approve a local bond issue to pay for the town's portion of the preservation deal.
There are many benefits to saving the farms from development. Obviously, by doing so, we preserve the views and we keep Jamestown rural, thus maintaining the agrarian heritage of our island.
As taxpayers, we are also saving ourselves money in the long run. If one or both farms were eventually turned into housing subdivisions, the added burden and costs to town services and our school system would far exceed the price of the bond issue to save the farms.
Attend the special Financial Town Meeting on Tuesday. Vote to save the farms. Do it for yourself and for future generations of islanders.
- Jeff McDonough