PORTSMOUTH — The Aquidneck Island Land Trust (ALT) had formally withdrawn its offer to pay the Town of Portsmouth $1.5 million for a conservation easement on Glen Farm.
With “a heavy heart,” ALT’s Board of Trustees voted to withdraw its offer on Sept. 24, according to a statement released Friday afternoon by Jessica Pohl, the land trust’s development director. The easement included major portions of the Elmhurst School property, the Glen fields and Seveney Sports Complex and Glen Park.
In an Oct. 9 letter to Town Administrator John Klimm, ALT Executive Director Charles Allott stated, “While ALT is still firmly committed to pursuing the perpetual conservation of this vital community parkland, in light of the Town Council’s recent vote of rejection of our proposal we do not believe any further discussions regarding alternatives to our current proposal would be fruitful at this point in time.”
Mr. Allot also noted that ALT has many other properties to conserve where eminent development is a real threat.
In her statement, Ms. Pohl said “while the current Town Council seems committed to the idea that the property should remain parkland, it is ALT’s hope that future town leaders will be as rational and vigilant as our present leaders in the self-protection of this invaluable community resource.”
While discussions about the conservation easements on the Glen go back many years, the talks on the current proposal began in 2012.
Ms. Pohl pointed out that numerous town committees and organizations supported ALT’s proposal, including the Newport County Chamber of Commerce, the Elmhurst Planning Committee, the Portsmouth Open Space Committee, the Glen Park Working Authority, the Glen Manor House Authority, the Portsmouth Conservation Commission, the Lower Glen Farm Preservation Committee, the Agriculture Committee, Preserve Portsmouth, Friends of the Glen Manor House, the Aquidneck Island Planning Commission, Portsmouth Youth Soccer Association, Portsmouth Youth Lacrosse, Portsmouth Youth Sailing, Friends of the Brown House, the Portsmouth Historical Society, and the Portsmouth Garden Club.
“ALT would like to thank the Town Council, Portsmouth Open Space Committee and all the various supporting committees and groups for all of their efforts in trying to forge a council consensus to match what ALT believes was the community-wide consensus towards the perpetual conservation of this vital community asset. It is nice to know that we have conservation- minded supporters in Portsmouth,” stated Ms. Pohl.