October 30th 2007
Town Votes to Help in Purchase of Bentley Property
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From Worcester T&G
Sunday, September 30, 2007
Four Corners property makes ‘endangered’ list
By Sandy Meindersma CORRESPONDENT
PRINCETON— Preservation Massachusetts has named a 168-acre parcel on Old
Colony and Gates roads as one of the state’s 10 most endangered resources.
The property, known in town as the Four Corners or the Bentley Property, was
purchased by Fox Hill Builders Inc. last December. The company has since filed
plans with the Planning Board for a 36-home subdivision that conservationists say
would destroy the habitats of three endangered species, including the American
bittern, Blanding’s turtle, and the four-toed salamander.
The property also has historic links to the Revolutionary War and to Shays’
Rebellion, and it is the only parcel between the top of Mount Wachusett and the
Rutland line without a conservation restriction.
“The Four Corners in Princeton (has) some of the oldest farms in our
commonwealth. This tract of land must be preserved; to lose it to housing
development would be a devastating disaster for this pastoral community,” said
James Igoe, president of Preservation Massachusetts.
Erin Kelly, assistant director of the organization that releases a list of most
endangered sites annually, said the property qualifies for the top 10 list because of
the history associated with it as well as its natural beauty.
“If even one part of the site is developed, the historic integrity of the site will be
adversely affected,” Ms. Kelly said.
Also on the top-10 list is Castle Hill Farm in Northbridge, which was laid out by John
Whitin, a member of the namesake family of the village of Whitinsville. The farmland
is owned by a single entity that is seeking to develop the property.
“Many of the Dutch in the area can trace their heritage to the farm,” Ms. Kelly said.
The Bentley Property was nominated for the Preservation Massachusetts list by the
Four Corners Preservation Society of Princeton. Society President Neil Sulmasy
said he was pleased with the designation because more than 90 percent of
properties listed on the top 10 list during its 14-year history have been preserved.
“The enthusiasm from everyone with the Four Corners is over the top,” he said. “It’s
an honor to get it.”
Mr. Sulmasy also said the designation by Preservation Massachusetts validates the
“They’re an outside entity, and they evaluated the property on the merits of the
history and the natural beauty that’s there,” he said. “It completely solidifies our
attempts to preserve the land. It lends a lot of credence to what we are doing.”
On Oct. 30, Princeton voters will be asked to borrow $400,000 toward a $2.9 million
purchase of the property. State and local funding, including public grants and private
donations, are being sought in hope of preserving most of the land while selling
two small portions for development. The Trust for Public Land is leading the
preservation effort with assistance from local groups and town officials.
Excerpt from Holden Landmark
The ongoing drive to preserve 168 pristine acres attracted a major ally
Congressman James McGovern (DWorcester) met with Princeton
officials, members of the Four Corners Preservation Society, Mass
Audubon representative Debbie Cary, and Craig MacDonnell,
Massachusetts Director of the Trust for Public Land, in the field at the
intersection of Gates and Old Colony Road on Monday to discuss
saving the Bentley land from development.
"This is a beautiful piece of property," said O'Brien. "It's breathtaking.
What a shame it would be if it turns into a development." "This is the
missing link, this isn't protected," said Cary.
"Suffice it to say I'm on board," said McGovern. "This is a beautiful piece
of property and it would be a shame to see it broken up.
Article on FCPS in July 19th and August 9th issue
Lisa Van Dusen volunteers to lead FCPS
Public Relations Committee
|The Four Corners Preservation Society (FCPS) is a group of
concerned citizens dedicated to preserving the open land, the
rural character, and the scenic, historic, and ecologically
significant resources of Princeton Massachusetts.