Superior court will decide if Milford’s Keyes expansion is an emergency

MILFORD – The future of Milford recreation is riding on the purchase of a 5.8 acre property adjacent to Keyes Park, town officials say.

The land at 127 Elm St., abuts the park to the west and would allow the addition of badly needed recreation fields, and even more important over the next few years, it would provide a second access to Keyes Park during the Superfund cleanup.

The park is the town’s largest recreation facility, with sports fields, a playground, tennis courts, a skate park and a swimming pool, and the roadway to the park will be unusable during the hazardous waste cleanup, scheduled for 2015.

Without another road, the park could be closed for two years, Town Administrator Guy Scaife has said.

The town has a shortage of recreation fields and the Recreation Commission told selectmen recently that ownership of the property would not only allow for the creation of more sports fields, it might also allow room for realignment of existing fields so more could fit.

The town has petitioned superior court to hold a special meeting to approve buying the property, which is assessed at $498,000.

If the court says yes, a public bond hearing will be held Monday, July 14. A Deliberative Session is scheduled for Aug. 11, and the vote would take place during the state primary election in September.

If the court doesn’t agree that this is an emergency, the meetings and vote will not take place.

Officials hope to acquire much of the cost through donations, and Town Recreation Director Arene Berry told selectmen recently there is more than $54,000 in donations so far.

Hitchiner Manufacturing gave $25,000 toward the project.

“Hitchiner has stepped up time and time again,” said Selectman Mark Fougere and Chairman Gary Daniels noted that the company, “a good corporate citizen,” also provided the lamp fixtures and public address system on the Oval.

Along with voter approval, purchase of the property, from the Mayo Group, would be contingent on a Mayo agreement that the company submit a work plan to the Department of Environmental Services and cleanup the site.

The town had an easement agreement with the Mayo Group that would have given the town access during the federal cleanup, but the agreement expired in 2012 and the company does not want to sign another agreement because it wants to sell the property.

The property was most recently the home of the Pennichuck Brewing Co., and before that the Permattach Diamond Tool Corp.

Kathy Cleveland can be reached at 673-3100, ext. 304, or kcleveland@