The article and editorial in Friday's Country Gazette about the municipal golf course are first, real solid pieces of information made public on this proposed project. The price tag of 10.7 million dollars is significant, but the financial schedule of payments, as I understand it, makes sense. However, I don't believe that all the costs for this project are known or have been considered in the 10.7 million. At an assumed market rate of $50,000.00 per acre and the plan calls for acquiring 200 acres (one lot alone is 140 acres) the land alone would be 10 million. The editorial cites land acquisition alone to be 4.5 million. The question should be asked, why so cheap?
The largest parcel of land was identified as the former Buckley and Mann Facility and I believe that specific information on the Buckley and Mann site was omitted when it comes to site limitations and considerations in the land acquisition and site development costs. The Buckley and Mann site is a Hazardous Waste Site listed with the Department of Environmental Protection. The property is tracked under "Release Tracking Number" or [search for] site number 3-0000173 [on this MA DEP search page] . [Select "3" from the RTN menu, type "0000173" into the topmost box, and click on "Search" - Wm.]
Various dyes, petroleum and metals have been found in the ground. There are three lagoons on the property and there are other areas where debris had been dumped and buried. According to a clean-up plan submitted in 1996 (public information), approximately two acres of the 140 acre property were remediated. A portion of one of the three lagoons was included in this clean up plan. The soils and debris that were removed were considered hazardous and others were "regulated." This 1996 plan called for cleaning up the site to meet clean-up standards for the current site usage - as an industrial property.
It is my understanding that a deed restriction is to be placed on the property which identifies the location of the contamination left behind. Essentially the deed restriction assumes that the last or "current" site use as a manufacturing facility will also be the future use. If the use is changed ie; housing, a golf course, a school, playing fields, the remaining contamination would have to be removed. The question is how much will it cost to remediate the site? Or is this why the land is so inexpensive. The financial impact on this project to remediate should be disclosed by the Golf Committee and should have been considered by the Advisory Board before endorsing this plan. I suspect that the remediation cost is not known but I know that this cost is certainly not included in the 4.5 million to acquire the land as reported in the paper. I also have a feeling that the construction costs have not included site remediation or demolition of the existing buildings.
While the concept of a municipal golf course is certainly a sound one and the financial benefits are clear there are too many unknowns to support this plan as proposed. The planning of this course has failed to look at the big picture, there are many unknown costs. The citizens of Norfolk need to get straight answers on Monday night and demand that the site limitations are known and what is the price associated with the unknowns.
Very Concerned Norfolk Resident