Milford property has $1 million worth of gravel

MILFORD – There is more than a million dollars worth of earth materials at the Brox property that the town could mine and sell, according to a consultant’s report.

Milford officials have been working with Fieldstone Land Consultants to develop a plan for excavating sand and gravel from the southern half of the town-owned property, and hope voters in March will give them the OK to do that.

At the Dec. 29 selectmen’s meeting, Fieldstone engineer Chad Branon went over information gathered from test pits intended to gage the feasibility of mining natural resources on the property.

The engineering firm’s report, which is available on the town website, shows that there are 919,000 cubic yards of marketable earth materials.

With the going rate for sand and gravel at $1.25 per square yard, the total mining operation could generate about $1,148,750 for the town, Branon said.

Another 75,000 cubic yards would be reserved for Department of Public Works’ uses of about 3,000 cubic yards a year.

Estimates could vary based upon the presence of boulders and other factors, according to the report.

The property has been mined for sand and gravel since the 1950s, Branon said, The southern portion of the 270 acres is called the community lands, intended for future municipal needs, and the area’s master plan had indicated the property could hold 10 sports fields, plus a football-track complex, a cemetery, a school and two municipal buildings. Out of the total 145 acres, 70 acres would be disturbed under the plan.

Based on soil evaluations, Branon said, the property will only accommodate seven fields.

Selectmen are working on an warrant article to present to voters on election day, March 10, that would allow them to sell Brox’s earth materials, and they want to mine the materials before the land is built on.

The town has been removing gravel for its own uses, but it needs voter approval to sell it.

Last March a similar warrant article on the town ballot was defeated after the group Brox Environmental Citizens lobbied against it.

The entire 320 acres that comprise the Brox property was purchased by the town 15 years ago, and for years the town has been trying to sell the northern half, which now is zoned for industrial, commercial and residential uses.

Suzanne Fournier, of Brox Environmental Citizens, complained last fall that Fieldstone’s 40 test pits damaged the property. Selectmen said there was no permanent damage done and the testing is part of a study people had asked for.

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