Apple orchard picked for Woodmont Commons rally in Londonderry
LONDONDERRY — A group of citizens concerned about the controversial Woodmont Commons project will rally inside the orchards next month.
Resident Mary Tetreau, spokesperson for the newly formed Save Woodmont Apple Trees (SWAT) group, said the public event, planned for Sunday, Aug. 4, will raise citizen awareness while “allowing local citizens to hug those apple trees goodbye before they’re chopped down for development.”
The rally will begin at 2 p.m. at the intersection of Pillsbury and Gilcreast roads, near the Woodmont Orchards sign.
“We’ll be there to say goodbye to 10,000 trees,” said Tetreau, who is one of several citizens hoping project developers will consider preserving 609 of the apple trees by setting aside a small section of land as a public park.
“Most of the trees are healthy and are fully capable of producing fruit if cared for, but they are on the chopping block in the name of Woodmont Commons,” Tetreau said.
Participants will be encouraged to “give the trees a hug” and bring picnic lunches. Water and apple cider will be served.
“People can bring their children to show them civics in action,” Tetreau said.
The rally will proceed south on Gilcreast Road to Cortland Street to the site of the proposed 19-acre Apple Way Park. This is the most heavily trafficked part of the Woodmont Commons land, where proponents said the park will benefit the most people and preserve a view shed vital to Londonderry’s agricultural heritage.
Tetreau referred to the frequent Planning Board meetings that have run late into the night over the past several months.
“Those meetings take hours off your life in the middle of the night,” she added. “This will take less than an hour and take place in broad daylight, with a healthy quarter-mile walk in the middle.”
Project officials for Woodmont Commons, a 300-acre town village project proposed for the former orchard site, said the project is expected to bring 3,600 more residents to Londonderry, along with 3,800 commuting employees once it hits its 20-year-buildout.
Earlier this summer, residents circulated a petition asking the town to guarantee their chance to ask the developers to consider setting aside 19 acres of orchards along Gilcreast Road for use as a public park. In mid-June, resident Jack Falvey spoke before the Planning Board about the proposal, with many of the citizens who live around the area in question voicing their support.
The next public hearing on the Woodmont Commons will take place next month. Ari Pollack, the attorney who represents developers Pillsbury Realty Development, LLC, said a final decision on the project is anticipated by early fall.
For more information contact Tetreau at firstname.lastname@example.org.