By Mark Robinson May 2004, Compact
The sun shone, the guests smiled, and an osprey soared overhead as Lt. Governor Kerry Healey led a host of dignitaries to the knoll overlooking Coles Pond on May 7. She was there to announce the latest support for the Town’s 33-acre acquisition at Crowes Pasture.
The Mass. Dept. of Conservation and Recreation will award $500,000 towards the Town’s $4.9 million purchase. Previously, the state awarded $250,000 through its Self Help Program. The US Fish and Wildlife Service ranked a Dennis grant application to its National Coastal Wetland Program second in the country and approved $1,000,000. This response has been heartening to the Trust, the Town, and to “Save The Crowe,” the group that initially brought attention to this parcel.
Founded by Chuck Lattanzio, David Sears and Joe Masse, Save the Crowe mobilized upon learning of plans to build 19 homes at the gateway to the Town’s 138-acre Crowes Pasture Conservation Area. They and the DCT worked with town officials to craft a District of Critical Planning Concern designation in Quivett Neck, approved in 2003.
Meanwhile, the Land Acquisition Committee and Chairman Henry Kelley II negotiated a “bargain” sale with the developers. Recognizing the purchase’s drain on Land Bank funds, Chairman Kelley challenged the Trust to help find outside funding sources. The Trust secured The Compact of Cape Cod Conservation Trusts, Inc. to pursue grants and to help organize a capital fund drive. With support from donors throughout Dennis, the Trust pledged $450,000 to the Town; after state and federal grants of $1,750,000, the net cost to taxpayers will be $2.7 million.
The Trust will hold a conservation restriction on the parcel jointly with the state, and have approval of the Town’s management plan for its use. This project has shown that the Trust can assist as a non-profit partner working with the Town and others, and is an example of how we must work in the 21 st century: united in our goal of preserving the best of what’s left, and confident in our ability to do what’s right.