Our Common Cause is a “place-making” initiative – the first-ever opportunity in Bolton’s 276-year history to come together to create a Town Common located on eight acres in the heart of our historic town center. Our people-centered, collaborative approach to the planning, design and management of this public space is at the foundation of our initiative. The Bolton Conservation Trust – a 501 (c)(3) organization – is currently undertaking the effort to build a Town Common, using privately raised funds, that will benefit residents of all ages. The property, located on the property formerly known as 715-723 Main Street, features three acres of open green space and five acres of conservation land featuring trails throughout. Our effort hopes to capitalize on our local community's assets, inspiration and potential to create a public space that promotes the health, happiness and well-being of Bolton residents.
Our end goal is to create an outdoor gathering space that will strengthen our sense of community. The Bolton Town Common will become the focal point of Bolton center and will make it easy and fun to walk or bike between the school, the library, the Bolton Historical Society, local churches, businesses, senior housing, the Houghton building, Memorial Field and private residences. It provides an opportunity to bring Bolton residents together in a lively outdoor setting for generations to come.
While creating a beautiful, community-centric common is our goal, it is only one part of Our Common Cause. This initiative also represents a massive environmental clean up. The abandoned gas station and two houses previously located on the property, and the surrounding land, have been contaminated for many years. In fact, the Town of Bolton declined the opportunity to buy the properties two times, primarily because of the financial responsibilities associated with the clean-up.
As part of our mission to be good stewards of Bolton’s natural resources, our organization purchased the property and took on the risk and responsibility to clean-up the heavily polluted site.
To date, we've removed the three buildings, exposed the cement cap over Great Brook, graded the building areas, and placed loam, seed and hay on top for erosion control, all in compliance with a very detailed Wetlands Order of Conditions issues by the Bolton Conservation Commission. During the grading of the property we discovered three buried heating oil tanks which were not previously identified. The first tank was a 300-gallon tank which was empty and badly corroded, the second tank was a 4,000 gallon tank with 2,663 gallons of an oil/water mixture, and the third tank was a 600 gallon tank with 550 gallons of heating oil. All three of these tanks were located within ten feet of Great Brook. From an environmental perspective they posed a significant challenge requiring pumping, cleaning and removal of the tanks, and significant soil testing to ensure proper clean-up. The one benefit is that we were able to provide the Bolton Highway Department with 680 gallons of waste oil to be used to heat their garage this winter.
On the demolition side, we hauled away and recycled 187 tons of organic material,16 tons of metal and 325 tons of concrete. We also saved much of the timber framing, and wide pine flooring to be re-used in future projects.
Once the site has been fully cleaned we can start the process of building out our town common – transforming the current brownfield to a town green.
Determining the design of the Bolton Town Common was a community effort. The design process began with a town-wide survey asking residents what they would like to see in a Town Common. More than 500 households participated with their ideas (survey results can be found at Building upon these results, we held our charrette, a collaborative design process in which representatives from a wide range of stakeholder groups (e.g. seniors, parents, business owners, students, civic leaders) came together to determine a strategic vision and design. The charrette involved multiple workshops between which Bolton residents and business owners will be asked to comment on alternative designs. Based on public comment and additional analysis, the preferred design was selected..
The current campaign expense budget is $1,470,000. The major expense categories are: Town Common build-out, demolition and remediation land purchase and loan interest and fees through 2017.
The funding strategy to meet the expenses has been formulated with the objective that the Town Common project be revenue neutral for the Bolton Conservation Trust. The Trust does not intend to make money on the project, nor does it expect its annual operating budget of $120,000 to be impacted by the campaign.
We hope that you will support Our Common Cause. We can only accomplish this place-making initiative together!