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Two steps closer for recreation land purchase in Milford

Union Leader Correspondent

July 16. 2014 10:55PM
The view of 127 Elm St. as seen from inside Keyes Memorial Park. Milford voters will decide on September 9 at a special town meeting if they want to purchase the property. (KATHLEEN BAGLIO HUMPHREYS/Union Leader Correspondent)

MILFORD — Two more hurdles have been cleared in the race to purchase 127 Elm St. before access to Keyes Memorial Park is blocked because of a future EPA cleanup at the site next door.

About a dozen residents attended a public hearing Monday to learn more, and some voiced their concern about environmental situations on the site.

“It’s the obligation of the current owners to resolve that before we execute an agreement,” said Town Administrator Guy Scaife.

Money has been raised to fully purchase the land without using tax dollars.

“Fundraising is going well. We raised the cash component, which is $190,000, and now the focus is to continue to fundraise to have money for site improvements. We’ll have an engineering analysis to see if the building is safe and what to do with it,” said Scaife.

A community center or senior center are possibilities for the building if deemed appropriate.

The town’s goal to purchase the parcel is critical to access Keyes Memorial Park after the EPA cleanup at the old Fletcher site begins as early as next year. The only entranceway to Keyes will be blocked during the cleanup, which could last up to two years.

Keyes Memorial Park sits in the heart of Milford along the Souhegan River on 19 acres and offers family recreation with an outdoor pool, tennis courts, skate boarding park, playground, athletic fields, a performing stage and picnic area.

The parcel would allow a second entrance, parking and possibly additional playing fields and use of the building on the land. The land is assessed at $498,000 and was the former Pennichuck Brewing Co. and Permattach Diamond Tool Corp. industrial building.

The Keyes Foundation and the Kaley Foundation donated $50,000 each, and Hitchiner Manufacturing donated $25,000. Milford Athletic Association on behalf of the O’Conner Trust Fund granted a $25,000 donation; Milford Recreation Commission donated $10,000 from the Marchesi Trust, plus other donations helped reach the goal of raising $190,000.

A deliberative session is scheduled for Monday, Aug. 11, at 6:30 p.m. in the Milford Town Hall Auditorium. It will be followed by the Special Town Meeting on Sept. 9.

Scaife said, “There is a lot of excitement about the planning and acquisition of the property.”

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