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Select Board approves $250,000 donation to Cunningham Pond preservation

  • Peterborough will contribute $250,000 to the conservation of a Cunningham Pond property. Staff photo by Nicholas Handy

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 3/21/2019 11:39:42 AM

Peterborough officially approved a $250,000 contribution to the purchase and conservation of more than 100 acres on Cunningham Pond.

The contribution has pushed the Monadnock Conservancy over the $1 million mark in its fundraising efforts.

During a Select Board meeting on Tuesday, the board voted unanimously to use the town’s land acquisition capital reserve to contribute to the $1.5 million purchase price.

The Cunningham Pond Conservation Alliance approached the Monadnock Conservancy about taking on the project, and the organization hopes to be able to finish fundraising and purchase the property by spring. The property is currently owned by the Peterson family. 

The Select Board and Conservation Commission must both agree to spend the funds. The Conservation Commission and the Open Space Commission have already taken a unanimous vote to approve the contribution.

“We’re kind of tightwads with our land acquisition capital reserve fund,” Francie Von Mertens of the Peterborough Conservation Commission said. “Nonetheless, we unanimously voted to support this project.”

Von Mertens said the $250,000 represents a significant portion of the land acquisition capital reserve, which has about $390,000 total. However, she said, Cunningham Pond has been identified as a favored natural and recreation area Peterborough residents are interested in seeing it preserved.

Anne McBride, the land protection director of the Monadnock Conservancy, said the property “hits all the marks” of the kind of project the Conservancy is interested in.

In addition to frontage on the pond and on Route 101, the parcel also has forested wetlands, recreational potential, a large field with agricultural soils currently being used to grow hay, and is over an aquifer.

“Being able to protect all of these, it’s a good project on its own,” McBride said. “But that people from the town came to us and said this is a project that’s important to us is very compelling.”

McBride said the parcel has a lodge and a boathouse on the property. She said the Conservancy, if it was able to raise the purchase price, intends to remove the lodge, and subdivide the part of the parcel with the boathouse and sell it.

The Select Board approved contributing the $250,000, on the condition that when it is sold the boathouse property be restricted from further development.


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