2009-08-06 / Front Page

Land Trust purchases Godena Farm

By Dara Chadwick

A view across the Godena Farm looking east. Photo by Jeff McDonough A view across the Godena Farm looking east. Photo by Jeff McDonough The Conanicut Island Land Trust has acquired the Godena Farm on North Main Road in Jamestown for $375,000 in a purchase funded entirely by the CILT.

“This is an enormously signifi cant acquisition,” said CILT President Quentin Anthony. “It’s a property with wonderful access, it’s extraordinarily beautiful and it’s large enough to accommodate multiple uses.”

Just what those uses will be, however, is yet to be determined, Anthony said.

“It’s critical that we go through a deliberate planning process,” he said. “We need to start developing a long-term plan on what the future shape of this property will look like.”

The Godena Farm property includes 23 acres on the east side of North Main Road, overlooking Narragansett Bay, along with 2.5 acres on the west side of North Main Road that includes a house, a barn and a garage. The structures themselves were included in the acquisition, Anthony said.

A small house is located on the Godena Farm. Photo by Jeff McDonough A small house is located on the Godena Farm. Photo by Jeff McDonough Although long-term plans for the property have yet to be decided, Anthony said the CILT board will soon meet to address the immediate needs of the property, which include maintaining fields, removing rusty barbed wire fencing, getting the buildings “buttoned up” and water tight, and removing invasive species.

Anthony also said that the CILT board will invite experts to its upcoming meetings to address the particular challenges of taking the property from private ownership to semi-public, nonprofi t ownership.

“We need to go at it step by step,” he said. “There are decisions we face on the ultimate way this place will look. Some things will work and other things won’t.”

Those issues might include access to water (if no well is available), handicapped access issues in the structures and decisions such as whether to maintain livestock or crops on the property, he said.

Though future use is up in the air at the moment, Anthony said there is not a question in his mind that this will become a piece of property that all island residents can use.

“The board agrees that the ‘no child left inside’ movement is a great one,” he said. “I’d like to see this property bring out everyone, young and old.”

The acquisition, which took approximately three years to put together, closed on July 30.

“We’ve been working so quietly and so diligently because of the enormity of the acquisition,” Anthony said. “We didn’t want anything to derail it.”

The CILT has had a development easement on the Godena Farm for approximately 11 years.

“Manuel Godena wanted the land to be protected,” Anthony said. “While he was alive, he gave the Land Trust the right to prevent development on the land.”

Anthony added that he would like to “express the deepest appreciation that the Land Trust has for the Godena family and their contribution of this property that will always be an intimate part of Jamestown life.”

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