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Ashland - Local Town Pages

Open Space A Priority

By Patricia Roy
For more than a decade, the town’s voters have focused on setting aside open space for playgrounds, parks, walking trails and in one case to forestall the construction of more than 100 housing units.
This last and potentially most significant project is the Valentine Property which required significant funding and has not resulted in a usable piece of property for either a combined community/business/nonprofit operation or open space/recreation. 
The Cadilac Paint property was rescued in 2015 by $100,000 through the Community Preservation Act specifically set aside for open space and recreational facilities. 
Though contaminated by decades of chemical pollution of the grounds, the Cadilac Paint property is now safe for use by the public.
Warren Woods is a 120 acre native landscape of farmland and woodland, once owned by Henry and Edith Warren. 
The land was donated by the couple, first in 1957. The rest was donated by Edith Warren to Northeastern University which the town purchased from the school in 2012.
It is currently under the stewardship of the Ashland Open Space Committee which maps and maintains the Ashland trail system including the Bay Circuit/Riverwalk Trail that is looking forward to a new bridge connecting the trail with Mill Pond Park.
Camp Winnetaska , a 20-acre Girl Scout property was purchased by the town in 2016 to house a wastewater treatment plant. Underground lines carrying clean water allows the area to be open to passive recreation. 
According to Town Manager Michael Herbert having open space promotes long-term health benefits for residents, contribute to keeping temperatures cooler and enhances property values.
MassLand states on its website that most recreational activities are carried on within 12 miles of home. Open space helps address the disparities in being able to access outdoor recreational activities, they said.
Open space also bolster local communities by supporting tourism related businesses and protecting working landscapes and promoting water quality, the website states.
The town has also purchased small amounts of acreage abutting the 
Town Forest. 
The Ashland Open Space Committee meets at 7:30 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month. Meetings are available virtually.
The Committee prepares the ground work for Self-Help grant applications to fund open space purchases.