By Patrick Cronin
Hampton Union, Tuesday, December 18, 2007
[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online]
HAMPTON - The town is the new owner of 12½ acres of land on Woodland Road that includes the historic Leavitt/ Lamprey Ice Pond.
Selectmen signed off on the finalized deal to purchase the property for $240,000 during Monday night's selectmen's meeting.
Ellen Goethel, chairwoman of the town's conservation Commission, said negotiations with the owner of the property had been ongoing for two years. The agreement was finalized around 7:30 p.m., just in time for selectmen to approve it before their holiday break.
If an agreement had not been reached by the end of the meeting, Goethel warned earlier that night there would be no deal.
The town only had to the end of this month to purchase the property or lose the funds that were earmarked by Town Meeting to go towards it.
The Conservation Commission is planning to use $100,000 approved at the 2005 Town Meeting and $150,000 in its conservation fund to complete the purchase of one of the three lots that were for sale.
Town Attorney Mark Gearreald said the purchase now includes the dam in the pond as well as easements to maintain it. The commission said it plans to attain grant money from the state to be used to study and maintain the dam and pond.
The Ice Pond is a part of the significant watershed that connects all of Hampton. The watershed includes Nilus Brook, which flows from 12 Shares, through the Ice Pond, to the Great Meadow, Mill Pond, Meadow Pond and into the salt marsh. One of the reasons the commission wants to purchase the land is to protect the area from increased development.
Goethel said the land would be open for hiking, snow shoeing and cross-country skiing. The Ice Pond itself would be available for ice skating and fishing.