Members of the Friends of Morgan Street Wetlands group have received verbal notification that the group’s request to the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board for funding assistance to acquire and preserve a parcel of land in Bennington was approved. The 140-acre piece of property known as the Morgan Street Wetlands currently provides recreational opportunities for those in the surrounding area, but those opportunities are currently at risk said Bennington’s Planning Director, Daniel Monks. “The land is currently for sale, and while this group currently has an option on the property, the only way we can be sure to preserve the recreational opportunities will be to eventually purchase the property.”
The land, which is currently owned by the Greenberg Trust, offers an assortment of recreational and educational opportunities, including trails, a variety of wildlife, and water access for kayaking, all of which play a role in the overall economic vitality of the area. During the group’s presentation to the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, Bennington’s Economic and Community Development Director Michael Harrington spoke about the importance of this project as it relates to the community’s ability to attract businesses and professionals to the area. “We are always looking for projects that provide us with a competitive edge when it comes to recruiting business and potential employees, and it is clear that this project does that,” Harrington stated.
While it is unclear exactly how much monetary support VHCB will provide, it is likely that it will amount to approximately two-thirds of the purchase price. This means that the group will have to find additional ways to raise the remaining amount of capital needed. Next steps for the project include the finalizing of the property management plan, a requirement for the funding, and development of a fundraising strategy to ensure that the property remains available to walkers, naturalists, anglers, children, schools, bicyclists, kayakers, residents and visitors.