Enfield Eyes Land  For Lakeside Park

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 12/5/2017 12:25:00 AM
Modified: 12/5/2017 10:15:37 AM

Enfield — Town officials in Enfield are hopeful the purchase of two lakefront properties will help spur development at Mascoma Lakeside Park.

A town fundraising committee will soon begin working to raise an estimated $350,000 needed to purchase the parcels, which are owned by the New Hampshire Department of Transportation.

The money would also go toward construction of new facilities at the park, which is located off of Main Street and the Northern Rail Trail, according to Selectboard member Meredith Smith.

“The idea is that it should not cost the taxpayers one cent,” Smith said of the fundraising effort on Monday.

Mascoma Lakeside Park officially opened to fanfare last summer during Enfield’s Old Home Days parade. The nearly 3-acre site boasts several picnic benches, a maintained lakefront shore and non-motorized boat launch.

But officials envision the nearly 3-acre property could serve as a second town beach, one with dedicated parking and in a more pleasant setting than the nearby Shakoma Beach, which is situated off of Route 4A. Past plans for the park have called for the addition of a multi-use public building, amphitheater, public restrooms, information kiosk and parking lot.

While the town now maintains the park under a long-term management agreement with the state, that’s soon set to change. The DOT recently declared the two properties surplus, and Enfield is moving to acquire them, said Town Manager Ryan Aylesworth.

An independent appraisal commissioned by the town came in at $118,000, and the DOT is working on its own assessment, Aylesworth said.

Once that and a title search are complete, the sale would require the approval of the Federal Highway Administration and a package will be prepared for review by the state’s Long Range Capital Planning and Utilization Committee, said DOT spokesman Bill Boynton.

“Ultimately, this sale will require the governor and Executive Council’s approval,” he said.

Despite facing those hurdles, both Aylesworth and Smith are optimistic the sale will happen, and both want to be ready.

The fundraising committee will work to solicit donations from private foundations, businesses and individuals to contribute money to a fund specifically dedicated to the park.

All money will also be tax deducible, Smith said.

“It’s something I’ve been working on for a long time and I certainly hope this will come to fruition,” Smith said. “We don’t know until we go through all the hoops and hurdles what the state will probably require of us.”

Tim Camerato can be reached at tcamerato@vnews.com or 603-727-3223.

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