Tilton property destined to bring more green to the downtown scene


May 20, 2009
TILTON — A small group of residents joined the Tilton Conservation Commission's meeting Monday night with a common purpose: to express their ideas on the newly purchased property at 190 and 223 E. Main Street.

Pat Bryson started the hearing by asking that the Commission continue to rent the site to him for his Christmas tree business. He has rented the property for the past four or five years from the previous owner, he told the commission, for approximately one month each year. Bryson offered to make any improvements to the look of his business that the commission deemed necessary in order to remain at the prime location. Money he would pay for rent, he suggested, could be put towards maintenance and improvement to the property.

"I'll do what you need me to do," he said, "if you're interested in letting the show go on."

Steve Jones, a member of the Parks Commission, suggested the town might make use of a pile of loam located by the ball park on Route 132 to reclaim the land and plant grass. After seeding the property he felt that, given its prominent location in town, perhaps fruit trees like peaches and pears could be planted for beautification purposes. He furthered the idea that some of the students in Winnisquam might benefit by learning to care for these trees.

Commission member Jon Scanlon reported that he had heard from Janet Rosequist of the Agricultural Education Center at Winnisquam High School. She is working on a curriculum for next year involving conservation projects. There is an interest in having students learn more about what a town's conservation commission does and Scanlon felt there may be opportunities to have the Agriculture students involved with this property.

Also in attendance was Ken Norton, representing the Winnipesaukee Trail Association. Norton said that Phase II of the trail project was "shovel ready" but has hit a snag in parking along the portion of trail where construction will take place. He asked that the Commission consider allowing volunteers for the project to park their vehicles on the property while work is underway this summer. He gave a brief update on the Association about liability issues they were working on and informed the Commission that access to the trail itself is a problem the WTA is trying to remedy. Parking at Cross Mill Road has become somewhat of a problem and the association will also need to build a bridge along Main Street for the continuity of the trail along the rail corridor. The WTA is awaiting word on stimulus funds to construct the bridge, but a location has yet to be negotiated with landowners along the route.

On a personal note, Norton suggested returning lilacs to the town's newest land acquisition. He remembered large lilac bushes once grew at the site.

"Not to be sentimental," he said, "but it'd be nice to see them back there again."

The commission liked his idea and said that lilacs could be made available free of charge through the Governor's Lilac Commission.

An abutter who wished to be known only as a representative of Ernie's Used Cars had a concern over people parking on her property. Hanks suggested she post the land if this has become a problem. Paul Rushlow also reminded her that a physical barrier was always an option. The town would not be installing a fence, but she had the right to do so herself.

Promising that the property would not become a parking lot, Kathleen Mitchell said that trees, grass and wildflowers will definitely be a feature of the site. Chairman Helen Hanks stated there had been a suggestion made to relocate the Farmer's Market to the riverfront site. She felt that might be a nice use of the land, but it is only one of many.

Hanks said there would be no immediate decisions made but assured those in attendance that the land would be a conservation area. She thanked everyone for their input.

"That's a lot to think about," she said.

The next meeting of the Conservation Commission is slated for June 22. Residents with other thoughts on use of the property are welcome to present them to the members of the commission.

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