Recreation Guide Gets New Life, Funding from Conservation

Stuart Arnett of the Arnett Development Group, contracted by the town for planning, brought a revised proposal for a recreation guide – at a cost lower than previously offered – to the Londonderry Conservation Commission.

The Conservation Commission had previously been told by Comprehensive Planner Jon Vogl that money from the Open Space Fund that was being used to fund the Outdoor Recreation Guide the commission was putting together, could not be used for that purpose.

At the Town Council meeting of Nov. 4, 2013, Arnett told the council that the Recreation Guide is “sort of a ground up detailed step toward a full plan,” a first step toward a comprehensive plan of outdoor recreational properties and what can and cannot be done on each of them.

At the April 22 Conservation Commission meeting, chairman Deb Lievens said money was now available for the project.

She said she and fellow member Mike Speltz have met with Finance Director Sue Hickey and Town Manager Kevin Smith concerning the information they had put together about Land Use Change Tax money. “It had by then been determined by the lawyer that indeed, any Land Use Change Tax money can be used according to the purposes of RSA 36A, which includes stewardship land management,” Lievens said.

She said they knew that at the same time, they had to revisit the recreation guide and revamp it and adjust the cost downward.

“It was (previously) approved at $28,000, but now we are proposing it at $18,400,” Arnett said. “The major differences are that we have pushed roughly $10,000 of work either into the future or (to) be done by Jon Vogl, and we pushed some on you as far as collecting information and doing some of the things that we think you would like to do.

“We’d like to start soon because if we do it in 90 days, it gets you a final product in July, and that allows you to get into the CIP (Capital Improvement Plan) conga line,” he said. “The CIP process goes to the Planning Board in August and people are starting to talk about it as early as May, so that this kind of ends up with recommendations as to what might be capital improvements down the road.”

Arnett said that if they didn’t want to miss a whole year, “we want to get information sooner than later.”

He said they will develop templates to apply to each site.

“There’s up to 15 sites,” he said. “There’s a couple that are basically landlocked so there’s not a need to do a whole lot of mapping, because people aren’t going to be getting to them.”

Arnett said the project was a buildup to an overall land stewardship plan.

Lievens noted a need for more seasonal photographs.

“That would be a really good opportunity for anyone who feels like tromping around in the spring or the summer to get some more pictures. That’s something that we all can do, and it’s quite pleasurable,” Lievens said.

The Commission voted unanimously to expend up to $18,400 for the project.

The recreation guide will be designed so that residents will be able to get a physical map with the amenities of the properties listed, and can go online to access the information. It will tell public land recreational users what is allowed and what is not and what the particular site they are interested in offers.

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