Milford raises most of Keyes expansion money Public hearing on land purchase July 14

MILFORD – Superior court has given the town permission to hold a special meeting to buy 5 acres adjacent to Keyes Memorial Park, and now it looks like taxpayers will need only pay for a small portion, or none, of the land’s cost.

The property, at 127 Elm St., will allow Keyes to expand, but most importantly in the short term, say town officials, it will provide a second park access during the Fletcher Paint Superfund cleanup, scheduled to start next year.

The property’s owner, the Mayo Group, has agreed to a $190,000 price and as of last week the town has raised $179,000 through donations.

“I can’t tell you how glad I am to see this coming together,” said Town Administrator Guy Scaife. “The dividends to the community are unimaginable.”

In the long term the property, which originally was the site of Permattach Diamond Tool Corp., will allow expansion of sports fields and perhaps a recreation center or senior center.

The Recreation Commission will “absolutely continue fundraising,” Scaife said, and beyond the immediate land purchase there will be site work. A citizens committee will help with planning.

There will be a public hearing on Monday, July 14, at 6:30 p.m. in Town Hall, with a Deliberative Session Aug. 11 and a vote on Sept. 9.

Scaife said the warrant article will ask for approval of the entire $190,000, but town officials will explain that it will be handled like an 80/20 grant and taxpayers will only be asked to pick up the balance minus the amount that’s been raised.

“The impact to taxpayers may be zero,” Scaife said.

Along with voter approval, purchase is contingent on cleanup on the Mayo Group cleaning up the property and that work is going on now, Scaife said.

Donations came from the Kaley and Keyes trust funds, which each gave $50,000 over five years, $25,000 from Hitchiner Manufacturing, $25,000 from the Milford High School Athletic Association’s O’Connor Trust, $19,000 from the Milford Recreation Commission, $10,000 from the town’s Marchesi Trust and $100 from an individual.

According to a fundraising letter from the Recreation Commission, eight years ago the property was for sale for almost $1 million.

The property is assessed at $498,000.

An agreement with the Mayo Group for second access to Keyes expired in 2012, and town officials were concerned they would have to shut Milford’s largest park for up to two years.

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