Posted: February 16, 2022
The residents of Wareham will be offered a unique conservation opportunity at the February 22 Special Town Meeting next week (7pm, Wareham High School). The Town is looking for voter approval to purchase the 54-acre Little Harbor Country Club (LHCC) property, with the intent to continue its recreational use as a golf course, but also to preserve this area as open space in perpetuity.
The Wareham Community Preservation Committee has approved the Town’s application to use $2 million from Community Preservation Act (CPA) funds for acquisition of the LHCC. Using CPA funds would require that a conservation restriction be placed on the property. The conservation restriction would allow golf to continue as a recreational activity on the property for now, while making sure that if golf ever becomes infeasible at LHCC in the future (due to financial concerns, sea level rise, or any other reason) that the 54-acre property would remain as protected open space in perpetuity.
Regardless of how you feel about golf, the Town’s purchase of LHCC with CPA funds would benefit the entire Wareham community by:
- protecting the land from any future development,
- conserving existing wetlands, forested areas and wildlife habitat throughout the property,
- adding to existing adjacent protected open space and wildlife corridors,
- preserving the scenic views and unique character of the Great Neck area,
- ensuring ample undeveloped area for future salt marsh migration from the adjacent Little Harbor estuary in response to sea level rise, and
- providing seasonal (i.e., when the golf course is not in operation) public access for pedestrians, birders, and others wishing to explore the property.
The majority ($2 million) of the purchase cost can be covered by CPA funds, which will require a conservation restriction placed on the entire property and would not affect residential tax rates. The remaining funds (approximately $600,000) come from other Town financing. If funding is not approved for the Town to purchase LHCC, preservation of this valuable open space is uncertain.
Call to Action: The Wareham Land Trust urges Wareham residents to attend the Special Town Meeting on February 22 to vote to approve the Town’s purchase of LHCC using CPA funds.
Written by Elise Leduc-Fleming, WLT Executive Director