City Acquires 60 acre Underwood Property through Open Space Fund

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Thursday February 28, 2013

The grand view of Lake Champlain and rolling fields of the 60.7 acre Underwood Property on Spear Street and Nowland Farm Road has been acquired by the City of South Burlington.

The South Burlington City Council will formally ratify an action to acquire this parcel – a portion of which has long been identified on the City’s Official Map as a future park – for a total of $1,660,000 from the City’s Open Space Fund.

“Today the City made its most significant investment in open space and recreation in the past 20 years,” said Rosanne Greco, City Council chair. “The Underwood property is a special place, with forests, fields, and spectacular views, and now it belongs to the citizens of South Burlington.”

The agreement calls for an initial payment of $1 million to the Marie Underwood Revocable Trust, followed by three annual installments of $220,000 beginning in September 2013.

“We’re very excited by this acquisition,” explained Greco. “We followed due diligence on the property, evaluating the property using a new open space matrix developed by the Natural Resources Committee, completing a full appraisal of the land, and negotiating an excellent deal. ”
The purchase was completed following the procedures and requirements set out in the City Charter and the voter-authorized Open Space Fund. The Fund collects $0.01 on the tax rate annually, totaling approximately $280,000 per year for the acquisition and maintenance
of open space and park lands. The fund had a balance of slightly over $1 million as of Fiscal Year 2013.

The City’s Open Space fund has been used for several important conservation projects in recent years, including the purchase of the 40+ acre Scott property off Dorset Street, the conservation of the 22-acre Goodrich property along the Muddy Brook, and a significant contribution towards the farm-conservation of the 143-acre Leduc Farm (now operated as the Bread and Butter Farm) in South Burlington & Shelburne.

The City is looking forward to involving the citizens of South Burlington to hear their thoughts as to the best and varied uses for this property.
This agreement represents the largest single acquisition of land for public use in the City since purchase of the Wheeler Nature Park in the early 1990s.


SOURCE: City Of South Burlington