Selectmen won’t pursue grant for pond work

LYNDEBOROUGH – The selectmen will not pursue a federal grant for work at Putnam Pond because of time constraints and the various studies of the area that would have to be made.

Those studies include an archeological survey, wetlands, and an environmental impact, Town Administrator Russ Boland said on Wednesday, Oct. 22. “I recommend that we don’t pursue it, at least this year.”

The selectmen agreed.

The 50/50 matching federal grant was for up to $50,000 and would have covered improvements to the boat launch, larger parking areas along Cemetery Road, and removal of dead trees.

However, the work might still be accomplished if it is done in cooperation with the Trustees of the Cemeteries and the Conservation Commission.

Cemetery Trustees Ginny Chrisenton and Bob Rogers also met with selectmen on Wednesday to discuss a proposal to expand the South Cemetery, located on Cemetery Road, into the wooded lot behind it. That plan includes clear-cutting about three acres for eventual expansion, plus selective cutting of the remainder of the ten-acre parcel to raise funds for the work.

The lot was deeded to the town by the state when the neighboring James A. G. Putnam flood control dam was built in the 1970s, she said. Road Agent Kent Perry has been storing extra soil on the property and would like to expand the area. His department would do as much of the work as possible.

“Kent has walked the area and is talking about opening it up,” Chrisenton said.”We have talked with a forester and would like to save some the big old trees for the cemetery,” she added.

“Using a forester would insure that the work is done properly, that only the trees we want cut are removed.”

A forester is paid a percentage of the proceeds, she said.

She noted there were some “granite outcroppings that would make nice islands” in the cemetery, with graves arranged around them in a park-like setting.

She also said that the town forest, which is located behind the cemetery and flood control area, is part of the Putnam Pond Conservation Area, about 300 acres held by the town from the state on a 50-year lease, renewable for another 50 years. The Conservation Commission oversees the area.

“That forest can also be selectively cut, but any money received would have to spent on the property,” she said.

Selectman Lee Mayhew said the town “should look at the conservation land at the same time” the cemetery work is being done, while the logging company is here.

He suggested the boat launch area be improved “to a family friendly place,” with a playground, perhaps a float for launching canoes. Some of the larger pines could be removed, opening up the space to more light.

Selectman Arnie Byam suggested “we take a field trip” to look at the area, and the others agreed.

Chrisenton said she would arrange the visit with the forester.

An informational public hearing will be held before any work is done.