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Purchase and sale agreement in hand for Sullivan Farm easement in Nashua

Union Leader Correspondent

May 15. 2018 9:07PM

About $1 million in grants will be used to acquire a conservation easement designed to protect and preserve Nashua's last working farm. (Kimberly Houghton/Union Leader Correspondent)

NASHUA — A purchase and sale agreement is now in place, and city officials are hoping to close on a major conservation easement intended to protect Sullivan Farm.

“The conservation commission has been on a mission to save Sullivan Farm for many years,” said Sarah Marchant, community development director for the city.

On Monday, Marchant approached the aldermanic Human Affairs Committee asking the panel to approve a $213,000 grant from the New Hampshire Land and Community Heritage Investment Program, which will fund a portion of the conservation easement.

“We are there; we have made tremendous progress. We have a purchase and sale in place,” Marchant told the committee.

She said the city hopes to close on the deal this fall.

For the past decade, Kathy Williams, owner of Sullivan Farm at 70 Coburn Ave., has been working with city officials and the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests on a proposed conservation easement for the farm, which will prevent the property from being subdivided or developed, and help promote continued agricultural uses on the land and secure it as a natural resource for future generations.

Several grants have been sought to help make the conservation easement a reality, according to Marchant, who said she was pleased about securing this latest round of funding.

“It has been a collective effort of many grants and many people to try to pull this off,” explained Marchant.

About $986,000 in grants have been secured to purchase the easement, including $213,000 from the New Hampshire Land and Community Heritage Investment Program, $20,000 from the New Hampshire Moose Plate grant program, $650,000 from a USDA agricultural land easement grant, and $103,000 from the 1772 Foundation.

Marchant said an additional $380,000 from the Conservation Commission will also be required.

The conservation easement will not cover the entire 50-acre farm, she said, explaining the greenhouse, main house, farm stand and farming operation areas are not included in the easement.

But the purchase and sale will allow Sullivan Farm to continue functioning as a true farm into the future.

“Sullivan Farm is a very important and beautiful feature in Nashua. It is our last surviving farm,” Mayor Jim Donchess said earlier. “This is a beautiful area of the city that we want to preserve into its natural state.”

Once the easement is official, Williams and her family will still own the land, but any future owners of the property will be required to indefinitely operate it as a working farm.

The committee recommended acceptance of the grant, which must also be considered by the full Board of Aldermen.

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