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Resident presents proposal for Hollow Road property

Date: 3/28/2013

By Chris Maza

WILBRAHAM — At its March 25 meeting, the Board of Selectmen heard a proposal regarding the purchase of a parcel of town-owned land on Hollow Road.

Jerome Gagliarducci, whose property on Glendale Road abuts the land in question, offered to purchase the parcel to use a small percentage of it for his purposes and return a portion to the town for open space and recreation.

Gagliarducci pointed out that the Massachusetts Heritage Society as identified a portion of the property that surrounds a stream that runs through it as a habitat for endangered species.

"Knowing that and knowing the town's need for property taxes, I want to see if I could buy the property, square off my lot and give the other 90 percent of the land back to the town," he said.

Gagliarducci said he would buy the land at the appraised value and would also absorb the cost of any surveys to the property.

"I think it would be an advantage to put four or five acres back on the tax rolls for the town," he added.

Chuck Phillips, chair of the Open Space and Recreation Plan Committee, said that having the land at its disposal would help link the walking trail system in town.

"We would like the area to be part of the town-wide trail system. We have a lot of open space that is very spread out and not connected," he explained. "We would like to have access through the property to connect it to the Rice [Nature Preserve] property and we think this could be a great opportunity to do cooperative work."

The Hollow Road property was also recently a topic of some debate when the Conservation Commission brought to the attention of the board the fact that bridges over the stream in question were illegally built on protected wetlands by Glendale Road resident Mark Laramie.

The selectmen also approved some funding transfers to support local seniors and veterans.

The board approved the opening of two additional positions in the town's senior tax abatement program, which allows senior residents to volunteer in town in order to get relief on their property taxes. An additional $2,000 was committed to fund these additions, which will benefit residents in fiscal year 2014.

The board also transferred an additional $20,000 from the Reserve Fund to the Veterans' Affairs Department, a move Chair Robert Boilard said was to offset the costs associated with serving a large number of veterans coming home from the Middle East.

The board also opened the bids for the drainage project approved for Manchonis Road.

A total of 12 bids were received, with bid prices varying from $19,380 to $87,516. Bids are currently being reviewed by the Department of Public Works, which will present its recommendations at a future Board of Selectmen meeting.