BCT, State help Town to preserve 3-acre Cedar Ridge at Drummer Boy Park

Brewster DNR's Chris Miller,   Sec. Bartlett,   Terry Eldredge, Hal Minis, Selectman Ben DeRuyter

State Environmental Affairs Secretary Maeve Bartlett delivers LAND grant to Brewster, November 24, 2014

Pictured: Brewster DNR’s Chris Miller, Sec. Bartlett, Terry Eldredge, BCT’s Hal Minis, Selectman Ben DeRuyter

The Brewster Conservation Trust (BCT) contributed $100,000 towards the recent purchase of three acres along the east side of Drummer Boy Park on Main Street.  The Town of Brewster purchased the property, known as Cedar Ridge Preserve, from Terry Eldredge in December 2014 for $500,000, after securing Town Meeting voter approval on November 17.  BCT will hold a perpetual conservation restriction on the parcel, ensuring its conservation status.

At a ceremony held at the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History on November 24th, the State awarded Town a reimbursement grant of $260,364 towards the Brewster purchase.  Maeve Vallely Bartlett, Governor Patrick’s Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs, attended the event with her popular oversized checks.  She also awarded State grants to Fall River, Wareham and Marshfield for open space, parks and wellfield protection.

In her statement,  Sec. Bartlett noted the importance of the 17-acre Drummer Boy Town Park for passive recreation and community gatherings. Cedar Ridge Preserve provides an eastern “bookend” to the ever-growing assemblage of protected open spaces around Drummer Boy Park.  See map here.  Last year, BCT purchased an acre at the western edge known as Windmill Meadows II,  and created a loop-walking trail through the meadow starting and ending at the historic Higgins Windmill.

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Cedars frame the view of Quivett Marsh on a warm summer day from Cedar Ridge Preserve

Perhaps not immediately, but eventually, the new Cedar Ridge Preserve could serve as the springboard for a new trail, via an elevated boardwalk over the marsh, to Wing Island.  The existing trail runs north from the Museum and is flooded at high tide, sometimes stranding people on the popular island for a while, waiting for the ebb.  Meanwhile, Cedar Ridge Preserve will serve to extend the walking trails from Drummer Boy and Windmill Meadows, out to an overlook from which Cape Cod Bay and the broad Quivett Marsh is seen.

Terry Eldredge of Chatham sold the land to the Town.  He had bought it to build a home for his wife and himself, but their plans changed and he placed it on the market.  “After a lot of soul-searching,” Mr. Eldredge told the Cape Cod Times, “We decided the town should own it.”  He agreed to sell the land to the Town for less than its appraised value and less than he paid for it in 2007.  Mr. Eldredge had spent several years clearing out invasive plants from the parcel and his family enjoyed sitting at their picnic table there to listen to band concerts at the park across the stone wall.  Mr. Eldredge attended the State ceremony and was thanked for his cooperation by Town Administrator Charles Sumner.

Hal Minis, BCT President, acknowledged BCT Trustee Peter Johnson and BCT/Town advisor Mark Robinson for negotiating the acquisition with Mr. Eldredge.  He noted that Mark suggested using the state income tax credit as an incentive for the price to be lowered by Mr. Eldredge.  “More and more, this is how we protect open space in Brewster and on the Cape,” said Minis.  “Land like this parcel is so expensive, we need all the partners we can find to be part of the funding.”  The final net capital cost to the Town for the parcel, appraised at $600,000, was only $140,000, owing to the price reduction by the seller, the State grant and tax credit, and the BCT contribution.  “The Town and BCT are active partners in preserving as much open space as we can in this special corner of Brewster,” concluded Minis.

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