Gloucester City Council’s Vote, combined with community support

push project closer to finish line.

Essex County Greenbelt’s Tompson Street Reservation is a significant conservation resource for Gloucester, Cape Ann and beyond. The 300-acre tract protects priority wildlife habitat and water resources, and provides miles of trails for recreational enjoyment. For many, it is one of the few places on Cape Ann that feels truly wild.

On Tuesday, November 29, the Gloucester City Council took a critical step to advance the potential expansion and enhanced public access to the Tompson Street Reservation when the councilors unanimously approved the recommendation of the City’s Community Preservation Committee to provide $120,000 in CPA funding toward the purchase of an adjacent 6.5-acre parcel on Bray Street. If the vote gains Mayoral approval, the measure would be Gloucester’s first open space conservation project supported by CPA funding.

To fully fund the $220,000 acquisition, Greenbelt has also applied for grant funding from the state Division of Conservation Services and has been actively engaged in a community-based campaign to raise the balance of funds from private sources. Greenbelt is most grateful for the support shown by the recreational enthusiasts who walk, hike and bike inside the expansive Reservation.

Area mountain bike enthusiasts in particular have embraced the project with gusto. In August, Gloucester open space advocate Charles Crowley and Roger Mercaldi from Seaside Wellness Center partnered with Central Cycle and Seaside Cycle to coordinate a harbor cruise fundraiser that netted $10,000 in contributions. Last month, the New England Mountain Bike Association demonstrated its strong support for the project by promoting the fundraising campaign among its members and earmarking proceeds from its annual Wicked Ride of the East for the Tompson Street project.

All funds, including private donations, will help Greenbelt purchase the parcel, improve public access, expand trail capacity and further protect at-risk habitat.

If Greenbelt is unable to secure funding, the property is slated for imminent development. Once developed, the existing trails on the property will be closed to outdoor recreation, and the opportunity for conservation will be lost forever.

To learn more about Greenbelt’s project to expand the Tompson Street Reservation visit ecga.org/tompsonst or contact Greenbelt at 978-768-7241, ext.18.