STOW – The Select Board and Town Administrator Denise Dembkoski are pleased to announce that the Town of Stow has received a two-year, $1.1 million state grant toward acquiring a portion of the Stow Acres Country Club.
The grant by the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs’ Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness Program will assist the Town in shaping protection and development of the North Course in alignment with community priorities.
Club owners approached the Town about purchasing the 115-acre North Course in 2020, entering a public-private partnership to draft a creative development and preservation plan. A working group held numerous public meetings. The group also received vital stakeholder feedback during a community forum. The project garnered significant support from town boards and committees, community groups, and the town’s representatives at the State House.
The Town reached agreement to purchase a section of the North Course in September 2021. Town Meeting appropriated $2.5 million in Community Preservation Act funding at the October 2021 Special Town Meeting. The Stow Conservation Trust is fundraising to provide the final $100,000 needed for the closing, which is expected in December.
About 32 acres of the North Course parcel will be developed into smaller single-family, village-style homes, designed to limit the impact on the environment and maximize affordability. The remaining acreage will be set aside for public conservation and recreation, with a short-term lease for continuing golf on nine holes.
The first year of the grant will assist in the purchase. The second year supports development of a Climate Resilient Master Plan for the area, including 32 adjacent acres.
The plan will provide the blueprint for wetland restoration, increase in flood storage capacity, removal of golf elements, planting of trees/shrubs and riparian buffers, increasing landscape diversity and complexity, wildlife habitat enhancement, design of trails, and state-of-the-art “green” public recreation amenities. Climate resilient park facilities incorporating nature-based solutions will offer healthy outdoor recreation options, and provide shade and water-focused recreation to mitigate impacts from extreme heat.
“We are grateful to the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs for this funding, We will be able to add needed housing stock while protecting one of our most valuable assets,” Select Board Chair Megan Birch-McMichael said. “This grant is one more result of a public-private partnership that we hope serves as a model for the entire state.”
“Thank you to all of our community stakeholders who worked tirelessly on this project and helped us shape our vision with vital feedback,” Town Administrator Dembkoski said. “I would especially like to thank Conservation Director Kathy Sferra, whose tremendous effort on our application was key in acquiring this grant.”
Learn more about the Stow Acres project here.