An extraordinary coalition
East side, West side, All around Carlisle
Your help makes things happen
A greater Great Brook
O'Rourke ribbon cutting
Growing Pains
1999 Financial Report

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CCF Directors

Alan Ankers
Barney Arnold
Liz Carpenter
Wayne Davis
Marjie Findlay
David Freedman
Peg Gladstone
Heidi Harring
Steve Hinton
Lori Jiménez
Jamie Klickstein
Lynn Knight
Jay Luby
Greg Peterson
Scott Simpson
Steve Spang
Sally Swift
Steve Tobin

P.O. Box 300
Carlisle, MA 01741



Canada Geese enjoy the now-preserved Wang Coombs fields.
Photo by Midge Eliassen

An extraordinary coalition

Sometimes the Carlisle Land Trust (CLT) acts quickly and quietly, working with landowners out of the limelight to accomplish important conservation objectives. Other times, CLT acts as a leader and catalyst, bringing together diverse groups in a sustained and very public effort to preserve land. Such was the case with the Wang-Coombs land, where CLT spearheaded a broad-based community effort to preserve one of Carlisle’s most-cherished vistas along Curve and Fiske Streets, just west of the Cranberry Bog. With the town’s purchase last month, 36 of the original 44 acres, representing almost all of the land in active agricultural use, were saved from residential development.

The sixteen-month long saga began in July 1998, when CLT first received word that the landowner was in active negotiation with developers at a total price tag of $2.925 million. An extraordinary coalition rose to meet the challenge. A small working group of CLT Trustees and neighbors near the cornfields worked with town officials to devise a plan whereby the town would assign its Right of Refusal to CLT which could then exercise the purchase option before the 120-day deadline. The spring ‘99 Town Meeting would vote whether to acquire the major portion of the land while CLT would sell two residential lots to help defray the overall purchase price. Groups of neighbors worked with CLT to raise funds to cover the legal and engineering project expenses and to educate Carlisleans about the land, its history and what was at stake. Twelve individuals from throughout Carlisle collectively guaranteed a $250,000 deposit to secure the land contract for CLT. Others devoted time and energy to the ultimately successful effort to secure a $320,000 grant from the State Agricultural Preservation Program. The Board of Selectmen, Planning Board, Conservation Commission, and Trails Committee all endorsed the plan.
The benefits of this open, broad-based approach became evident with the overwhelming 331 to 27 vote at Spring Town Meeting to authorize the $2.15M purchase. But the challenge was far from over. CLT still had to find buyers for the two residential lots and raise additional donations so that it could contribute $100,000 to the town’s purchase. These challenges, too, were met, and finally, on November 29, 1999, the town’s land purchase closed.
What has been preserved? 36 acres of some of Carlisle’s most fertile agricultural land and one of Carlisle’s most scenic vistas.
What has been accomplished? A community came together to preserve a treasured part of Carlisle’s heritage.
Wayne Davis