A group of residents is proposing to control flooding in homes in the area with an alternative to a housing development—a golf driving range.
Several members of the group—Save Spence Farm!—presented the proposal Thursday night for a 14-acre parcel of undeveloped land off Wyman Street. That parcel is across the street from the part of Spence Farm that the city bought several years ago. and are held on the farm stand site.
About 90 people gathered last night at the farm stand to hear the proposal.
“This is the last chance to control flooding in this area,” Vincent Grillo told the audience. Development, including the paving of the parking lot off Main Street, has worsened homeowners’ water problems, according to Grillo. Undeveloped land can absorb water, he said.
Financially, revenue from a golf driving range would cover the cost to buy the land and operate the facility—and even bring some additional money in to the city, Grillo told the audience.
“This pays for itself,” he said.
The group anticipates that a driving range would be successful, financially. If it wasn’t, Grillo said, the proposed use of the land is “reversible.” The land could, for example, be sold.
Ward 3 Ald. Mark Gaffney came up with the idea of the driving range, speakers said. Gaffney said he thought of it because he’s been involved with golf since he was a kid.
A professional golf management company would have to provide community events, according to the proposal, such as free golf camps for Woburn youths. The city would set conditions on the use of the land, the speakers said.
Time is of the essence to gather support for the proposal, according to the speakers. A developer has reportedly signed an agreement to buy the 14-acre parcel of land.
The city has a first right of refusal on the property, according to the discussion.
Some people prefer keeping the land in its current state, according to Grillo.
That isn’t an option, Grillo said. The two choices, he said, are either a new housing development or the driving range.
Members of the Save Spence Farm! group encouraged those in the audience to contact Mayor Scott Galvin to urge him to support the proposed driving range.
Last night’s presentation will be repeated this coming Saturday, Jan. 28, at the farm stand, starting at 2 p.m., Grillo said, for people who were unable to attend last night’s meeting.
Members of Thursday night’s audience asked about a dozen questions.
Some people were concerned about the driving range expanding, with lights, for example.
We would put in restrictions, Grillo said.
After the meeting, several audience members told Woburn Patch that they would like to keep the land undeveloped. Like Julie Smith. She’d love to retain open space in the city, she said. Financially, with both land prices and interest rates low, now would be a good time to buy the land, said Cheryl Tierno.
The Save Spence Farm! group’s Facebook page indicates 700 “likes,” Grillo told Woburn Patch.