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Open Space Committee announces meeting

By Debbie Gardner

PRIME Editor

HAMPDEN The Open Space Committee for Hampden has announced that its next business meeting will take place on Oct. 18 at 7:30 p.m. at Academy Hall, 615 Main St.

The meeting is open to the public and all interested residents are invited to attend.

"We welcome suggestions, input and volunteers," Connie Witt, acting chairman, told Reminder Publications in a telephone interview about the upcoming meeting.

A sub-committee of the non-profit Minnechaug Land Trust, Witt said the purpose of the Open Space Committee is to work in conjunction with the town's Planning Board and Conservation Commission, offering these bodies the research the committe has collected on open space conservation and use.

"Everyone in town government, just about, is a volunteer, and our town boards are so busy now that its difficult [for these boards] to find the time to do this," Witt said.

The Open Space Committee sees its mission as filling this niche by providing town boards and landowners with the most up-to-date information about land use.

"There are opportunities for a landowner to make the most of their land," Witt said. "We'd love it if they donated their land to the town for conservation, but we don't expect that most people will be able to do that, or want to."

She said the goal of the Committee is to help landowners strike a balance between development and conservation.

"We want everyone to know exactly all the options available to them if they should decide to sell their property," Witt said. "There are so many options available that its hard for people to keep up with the opportunities."

Rita Vail, secretary for the Open Space Committee for Hampden, said that, by using town assessors' maps, the Committee has identified large areas of open space.

The Committee plans a informational mailing outlining land use options to the owners of these identified open space parcels in the near future.