Milford’s Osgood Pond moving into Phase 2

MILFORD – Selectmen voted Monday night to commit to a $175,000 warrant article in March for the next phase of Osgood Pond improvements.

In 2016 the town dredged the pond, clearing weeds from about five acres of the 20-acre pond off Mason Road.

On Monday night Executive Councilor David Wheeler, of Milford, told the board the state has $175,000 in matching funds “sitting on the shelf” for Phase 2, to help increase the dredged area by six acres.

“I’d like to see us continue with this project,” he said. “I drive by each day, and it has dramatically increased usage.”

First, however, the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources asked for a commitment before Dec. 31 that the town would match the state’s $175,000 grant.

Selectmen said the cost to the town would likely be less than $175,000, and they talked about the possibility of in-kind donations.

“I’d like to see us move forward and see what other funds are out there,” board Chairman Kevin Federico said.

Mike Putnam cast the only no vote, saying he has a problem spending money on recreation when the town has police, fire and communication needs.

“We can’t keep spending and spending,” the selectman said. “A lot of people in town can’t afford it.”

The state also wants the loose ends of the first phase tied up. A letter from DNCR Commissioner Sarah Stewart said the original phase is 90 percent complete and they are waiting for picture confirmation before they reimburse the $150,000.

“We have a few details to clean up,” Town Administrator Mark Bender said.

Along with dredging five acres, the nearly completed Phase 1 included the development of a parking area, a picnic area, boat and fishing access as well as handicap-accessible pathways and fishing access.

Until the pond was dredged in 2016 nearly all of the shallow pond was covered by a thick mat of weeds, making fishing and boating impossible. Wheeler said there has even been a kayak in the pond.

The state Fish and Game Department can help fund it up to $50,000, he said, and there are other possibilities for whittling down the $175,000 town match.

With the completion of Phase 2, more than half the pond would be cleared of weeds.

Bender noted that the town will have to find a place to put the additional dredged material.

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

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