The Selectmen Hear Conservation Restriction Requests and Updates from Springs Brook Park

December 15, 2018

By Peter Manning

The Selectmen’s meeting on December 3 approved motions on two conservation restrictions and heard an update on Springs Brook Park.

Conservation Restrictions

Land dubbed the Middlesex Turnpike Project has changed ownership and is entering the final stages of conservation restriction approval. The selectman appreciated this update and reaffirmed their approval of this initiative. A separate proposal updated the Selectmen about progress made on a Willow Lane site. The Selectmen asked several questions on general accessibility to a nearby walking trail, concerned that the conservation space will inconvenience citizens. Two existing paths were pointed out, alleviating their concerns. Both conservation motions passed unanimously.

About Springs Brook Park

Springs Brook Park’s fiscal viability and structure have been questioned in recent meetings, and a new data package brought these concerns together. Most arguments in favor of the park have been stressed sentimentality and other the community values Springs Brook Park offers. The board was presented with demographics on the user-base, with Bedford’s Summer Adventures program generating nearly 25% of all traffic.

The 30-page report brought further questions from the board. William Moonan questioned how the town divides responsibility for Springs Brook Park. He referenced the Job Lane House as a publicly funded, privately operated utility, and asked that Springs Brook be understood in the same light. He labeled the divide “facility and program.” The town currently pays for facility costs while the Recreation Department oversees the revenue and expenses generated by programs and operations. This issue remains open for further debate.

The Selectmen were asked for general suggestions on several points, though nothing firm was resolved.

  • There is pushback against raising membership rates, from both the board and the Rec Department.
  • Further initiatives to increase water clarity were deemed fiscally unviable.
  • At a later date, Springs Brook Park will request $90,000 from the town; an increase of $10,000 from last year’s request.
  • A fundraising strategy was proposed to send mail-in donation requests to former members.

Caroline Fedele Won’t Run for Reelection

Caroline Fedele announced her departure from the board at the end of her term. She cited both personal and occupational reasons for leaving. She assured all attending that her departure from town affairs will not be absolute, as she still plans to volunteer and engage with the board in some capacity. The Selectmen thanked her for her participation and reminded her she’d be more than welcome to run again should her future allow.

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