“Save Our Heritage” forum on article 4 to preserve golf course without any development – Feb 16

by beth on February 7, 2017

Post image for “Save Our Heritage” forum on article 4 to preserve golf course without any development – Feb 16

Above: The movers behind an article to preserve St. Mark’s Golf Course without any new development are holding a public forum. (photo posted to Facebook by Patricia Coleman)

There have been a lot of public meetings and presentations on the Town’s proposed land deal for St. Mark’s Golf Course and plan to build a public safety building there. And there have been public presentations by golfers seeking to preserve the course alongside the Safety Building.

(In fact, presentations by both the Public Safety Committee and the “Citizen’s Golf Course Group” will be made at the Board of Selectmen meeting tonight.)

Now, opponents to building a public safety complex at the site are holding their own public meeting. Proponents of Special Town Meeting Article 4 hope to make their case at a forum next week.

save our heritage flyer for Warrant Article 4 forum

(click to enlarge)

The meeting will be held at the Community House, 28 Main Street at 7:00 pm. Citizen petitioners will present their proposed article and answer questions.

Article 4 asks voters to pursue a Conservation Restriction on the entirety of St. Mark’s Golf Course:

Summary: This citizen petition warrant article is tied to Town Meeting’s rejection of Article #1 to purchase the Golf Course for construction of a new public safety complex.

Passage of this article indicates to the Selectmen that the Townspeople want them to renegotiate the purchase of the Golf Course in order to preserve the entire property. It requires a Conservation Restriction that allows the golf course operation to continue, helping to make the purchase of the land financially feasible while providing needed recreational opportunities. It establishes a committee representing all key constituencies to design the Conservation Restriction and requires development of a financial package that includes CPA funds, state grants, and golf course revenues.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Townie February 8, 2017 at 10:31 AM

After last nights BOS meeting and a letter from St. Marks, I really hope that the opponents of article 1 withdraw article 4, IMMEDIATELY. The letter from St. Marks to BOS has made it very clear there will be NO RENEGOTIATION. The school has been playing nice with the town by presenting their offer in article 1.

Not withdrawing this article will give residents false hopes that the property can be renegotiated without a land swap.

http://southborough.wickedlocal.com/news/20170207/st-marks-says-it-will-sell-southborough-golf-course

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2 John Smith February 9, 2017 at 10:11 AM

The letter from St. Mark’s Head Master mysteriously showed up the day of the BOS Meeting, as I’m sure it was prompted by our fine selectmen.

PLEASE keep in mind that there are many opponents to Articles 1 and 2 and they are people who believe in preserving open space, people that see no need for such an expensive facility, and quite simply, people that do not trust the selectmen for a multitude of reasons.

On Tuesday night Mr. Kolenda said he loves open space but would also love to see development of that parcel. Which is it Mr. Kolenda? You can’t have it both ways. If Cimino and Shea truly believed in preserving the land then they would have put a CR on the remaining parcel in addition to a new complex for the selectmen’s Article 1…..but they didn’t.

Watch Tuesdays night’s BOS Meeting video and you will see that residents and the Citizens Group to Keep the Golf Course are very concerned that there is no true protection for the golf course to remain and to preserve the land, the articles are a mess. They might have a partial golf course for 2 years and then the town could vote to develop it.

SEND A MESSAGE TO THE BOS by voting “no” on 1,2,3…..have them get it right for April Town meeting. “No” on 1, 2, 3, and a “YES” vote on 4, let’s them know that we take open space seriously. This is a business transaction, they sure as hell can re-negotiate. Who runs this town: St. Mark’s School or our 10,000 residents?

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3 Townie February 9, 2017 at 12:18 PM

These opponents have their priorities all wrong. They have been pushing off to the side a project the NEEDS to be done in favor of a project THEY want done. This group boasts about how article 1’s cost is excessive, yet have zero resolution to the issue. They only reference old information on their website that had been written before the golf course was even an option. The cost of this building is not going to change, the cost of the land however will if article 1 is voted down. It seems they would rather purchase this land at a competitive rate to put a CR on it, then let the town find yet another suitable site for the Safety Complex, which will still probably cost $21-$22 million to build, if not more due to inflation. Opposing article 1 because it COULD be a million over budget while campaigning you rather go for a deal that could be millions more just shows you are only thinking about their interest, not the towns.

You mentioned the lack of CR on the remaining land if article 1 follows through. If the opponents are so worried about this and have a feeling that article 1 maybe be the better and more financial responsible option, make an amendment at TM to place a CR on the remaining land. You got my vote on that.

As for your comment on who runs the town, it’s residents. You should know that by the results of the Main Street Project. You are naive to think St. Marks will re-negotiate for something not in their interest.

On a side note, this letter from St. Marks was a huge development. I’m surprised MySouthborough hasn’t done a piece on it.

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4 beth February 9, 2017 at 12:41 PM

I will be writing about it. I requested and received a copy of the letter.

But, I know the golf course and the building are big, important issues. And I want to get the coverage right. I’m still in the process of watching the video of the selectmen meeting. (Three hours in and still sounds like much more to be said. Also spent a couple of hours this week watching the Monday night Public Safety Meeting.) I’ve regretted rushing a post in the past, missing important facts that came up later in a meeting.

And I keep having to interrupt my watching to write other posts for the blog, because not everyone wants to read about this issue constantly. I work alone, part-time, and just don’t have enough time to always cover these things quickly.

Since the vote isn’t until March, I thought it better to wait and see everything that was said Tuesday night before writing a post. I feel constantly behind on this, because every time I carve out a few hours to work on covering one meeting on it there’s an additional meeting that also bears watching.

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5 Brian W February 10, 2017 at 5:30 AM

We the residents may run the town but in this instance St Marks owns the land. They control the land 100%! A no vote to article 1 is a yes to private development and a 100% loss of control. Private developers are loving article 4.

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6 SouthBorrow February 9, 2017 at 1:01 PM

I still can’t believe that the town is spending $28 Million on this project. I don’t understand why we can’t reuse an existing site and develop a more reasonable facility there. If we do buy the golf course, it should be conserved.

Where is this $28 Million coming from? At the end of the day, it comes from our pockets!

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7 John Smith February 9, 2017 at 1:33 PM

Town of Sutton is building a New 12,500 SF Police Station for 7.5 Million……lets start with that at the DPW / Transfer Station……I wont charge the Town any fees for this bit of information.

WAKE UP……WE DON’T HAVE TO PAY 30 MILLION FOR LAND AND CONSTRUCTION COSTS.

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8 Southside Mark February 9, 2017 at 5:49 PM

This is ridiculous. Regardless of the nuances “discussed” above, the deal is the land swap with St. Marks or it goes to the highest bidder (read: developer) Ya’ll are making all of these good hearted suggestions like, “buy the land and preserve it” “save our golf course” or “no public safety complex” but that’s simply not what is on the table here. Period. If this deal doesn’t happen, expect to see Madison Place 2.0 on that parcel and we will STILL need to do something about the public safety building.
That brings me to the next point. The public safety complex. Several of you have voiced opinions of not needing one at all, because “not everyone can live in a new house.” Have you been to either building? The police station is literally falling apart – like holes in the brick exterior. If you HAVE been in our police station, did you take the time to go visit a more modern station, like Hopkinton or Weston? Visit both, then come back on here and tell me our police and fire don’t need a new house. Additionally, while I understand Mr. Hamilton’s heart is in the right place, what qualifies him to comment on the necessities of either building? Have you ever been a fire fighter or cop? Worked in a police station at all? The suggestions of “one big shared locker room” or “3 kitchens?!” Shows his ignorance on the matter. You’re talking about two VASTLY different professions. Yes, they work alongside one another on a daily basis, but their roles and responsibilities are like apples and oranges. Also, it’s not 3 kitchens. Sure the fire department has one, as they should! Their shifts are 24 hours long. I’d want to be able to eat, too. But the police station has the equivalent of break rooms… you know, a place for a coffee machine and a microwave. Maybe a sink? You do realize that their current “breakroom” at the police station requires them to wash any dishes they may have in a tiny bathroom sink, right? C’mon. We can give them better than this. Go tour both stations, they welcome you and will answer any questions you may have.
Finally there’s the issue of our police department becoming nationally accredited, which means addditinal funds for our officers to get much needed training, as well as an even more professional force, which is what everyone wants, right? Well accreditation ISN’T going to happen in their current space. It’s not possible without millions in renovations. Let’s not continue to put lipstick on a pig. Both departments need and deserve a new building.
Coming full circle, don’t let this deal fall through. You think the Flagg road/park central project is a nightmare? Just wait until their showing all of you neighbors the plans for the hundreds of apartments or condos going in on that land. If the golf course can work with the public safety complex on the same parcel, great. If not, I’m sorry, but it’s better than another Madison Place. And that’s a fact.

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9 Pat D February 10, 2017 at 10:53 AM

An excellent summery of this entire issue — straight forward and to the heart of the issue. Thanks for taking the time to reflect on this with no frills and miscellaneous baggage!

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10 SB_Newbie February 19, 2017 at 8:25 PM

Didn’t make any of the meetings (wasn’t even aware of them) but I have to admit to being burned out on town gov. after the Main Street presentations. But that’s another discussion…

Seems like the town really needs a new police station – is the fire station as bad ? I suppose it makes sense to combine them, but then again, maybe not ? I always imagine a police/fire station on the site of the current senior center. A nice flat lot close to the road and what seems like a perfect location. No ?

I’ve heard St Marks has wanted to unload the golf course for awhile now. It’s probably no longer viable as a golf course (otherwise they would be keeping it?) but it’s a valuable piece of land and it seems to me the town should buy it rather than letting it go to a developer. Having said that though, seems to me the town would not want to keep it or manage it as a golf course, and given the cost of land and the location, they would not want to keep all of it as conservation land. May seem a bit far fetched, but I could envision a limited amount of development, managed by the town, that could create a true town center for Southborough while at the same time preserving a good portion of the land as open space and conservation land. This seems like the perfect opportunity to finally create a true center of town for Southborough and increase the tax base at the same time.

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