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Posted on: May 19, 2017

Pony Express Property UPdate

Pony Express Project Update

We are writing to provide the community with an update on the Pony Express acquisition and athletic field improvements.


On January 24, 2017 Special Town Meeting approved the purchase of 30 acres of the former Pony Express Farm on Candlewood Road for recreation, water supply protection, conservation, and agricultural purposes; and to develop four full sized multi-purpose athletic fields on the existing polo field purposes using Open Space Bond funds. The acquisition was part of a larger conservation project in partnership with Essex County Greenbelt Association and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to permanently keep the vast majority of the 128-acre property as it is now, as hay fields, woodlands and wetlands along the Castle Neck River, while using the polo field as athletic fields. 


The Town completed the purchase of the property on March 16, 2017. Since that time, the Town Manager appointed a Pony Express Task Force to develop a management plan for the use and operation of the property; to develop recommendations for the future use of the stable; and to develop a timeline for and oversee the process of implementing the athletic field improvements.


It is our expectation that we will have a management plan for the property and recommendations for the stable for the Selectmen’s approval by fall 2017. Work is underway on the athletic field improvements. We anticipate that construction will begin this summer and that the fields will be ready for use by spring or possibly fall of

2018.


In the interim, the property is open, on a limited basis, for passive recreation. Hiking and horseback riding on the existing driveways and trails is permitted between sunrise and sunset. Dogs are welcome, but must be on a leash at all times, and dog waste picked up and removed from the property for the health of people and the natural resources. As there will be ongoing work to amend the topsoil, reseed, and fertilize the athletic fields, as well as to install an in-ground irrigation system we ask that the public stay off the fields for both their safety and to protect the fields until further notice.


Similarly, until the future use of the stable is determined, and any needed renovations have been completed, the building is closed to the public.


In addition, the fields located to the east and south of the pond and stables, will continue to be in operation for haying, so stay off of and away from any farm equipment, and stay on designated paths only and do not enter the hay fields for your safety and consideration of the farmer at work! 


Parking for hikers is available in the existing parking area in front of the stable. We are restricting its use to passenger vehicles only, and ask that no horse trailers enter or park on the property. Also, please do not park on the public roadways bordering the property. 


Signage will be installed this spring to provide guidance for the use of the property during this interim period. 


We hope you understand the need for these restrictions and will enjoy the use of the property with respect for the surrounding neighborhood and farming operations. 


For questions or more information, please contact Jeff Putur, Cemetery and Park Superintendent or Beth O’Connor, Open Space Administrator at .


Sincerely,

Pony Express Task Force

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