EDC Queries Highland Farm
The Town’s Economic Development Committee met online Wednesday night, October 9, 2021 with Chair Matt Coletti (below) and three other members in attendance.
Coletti suggested his board support Article 10 on the Town Meeting Warrant, which requests $300,000 for constructing a municipal parking lot at 9 Green Street. The present building at the site was taken by the town and will be torn down.
Chair Coletti then made a motion to apply for a grant of $500,000 from the Local Rapid Recovery Program (LRRP) for improvement from Washington Street down Central Street to Blair Square. The entire LRRP report prepared for Holliston can be viewed here – > https://www.townofholliston.us/sites/g/files/vyhlif706/f/uploads/holliston_-_final_lrrp_report_-_2021.pdf The monies would be used for sidewalk improvements, plantings, driveway improvements and elimination of fencing, etc. The committee voted in favor.
Mr. Coletti then said he had sent the Select Board a letter relative to a pubic taking of 799 Washington Street (the former Gulf Station). The current building is considered a blight and nuisance. The Zoning Board had recently turned down a request by the owners to revert the property back to a gas station. Coletti hopes the Select Board will entertain his suggestion.
A long discussion about the status of Highland Farm on Highland Street ensued. Mary Greendale (below) whose work at the state level of the Department of Agriculture was helpful in addressing the past history of the farm and its agricultural restrictions.
The farm was purchased in 1984 with state monies along with 10% from town coffers. The farm was sold to its current owner who improved the property with stone walls and apple tree’s. The apple farm was a going concern for a number of years with a u-pick operation. The farm had been on the market for the past several years with several interested parties but the price along with the agricultural restrictions did not fit the buyers’ needs.
Townspeople have noted that the farm has not been open for several years and the apples are left to fall on the ground. Greendale suggested that the town’s Agricultural Commission take the lead and see if the owners would be willing to lease out parcels of the property to farmers in need of acreage.
The meeting adjourned at 7:30 pm