By Rachel Goff
By next summer, Warren could have another public swimming hole.
At their meeting on Tuesday, November 11, Warren Select Board outlined a description to submit to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) of what they would like to do with the Route 100 property formerly owned by Quayl Rewinski.
The town received the roughly two-acre parcel bordering the Mad River in a FEMA buyout after it was heavily affected by Tropical Storm Irene in August of 2011.
Per the terms of the FEMA buyout, Warren cannot build any structures on the property, and it needs to submit a full description of its plans before it can alter it in any way. On Tuesday, the board said it would like to create a small, "somewhat defined" parking area on the right side of the property, select board chair Andy Cunningham said, as well as perform "selective mowing" to create a path to allow residents to access the river.
This past summer, FEMA paid to demolish the two small structures that were on the property, and in turning it into a recreation area, Rewinski advised the board to "invest as little as possible in it," she said, "because I believe the river will go through it" in the next flood. "The bank erodes more every year," Rewinksi said.
Once the town allows for river access, "if it disappears, it disappears," Cunningham said, acknowledging the Route 100 property's primary purpose will be to serve as an outlet during flooding.
As it is now, however, the property would make a good swimming hole, Warren public works director Barry Simpson said, as it contains a place that "habitually is kind of a sandy beach" that allows for a gradual descent into waist- to chest-high water, depending on the time of year.
"It's a little like Riverside Park," Simpson said, referencing another public swimming hole that the town received as a result of a FEMA buyout after the flood of 1998.
Across the river from the property lies a 50-acre parcel that a private landowner donated to the town this fall and which – with the proper easements – the town decided could have great potential for low-impact recreational opportunities such as hiking and mountain biking trails.
Select board preserves Valley lookout
The drive up over Roxbury Gap provides one of the best views upon entering The Valley and at their meeting on Tuesday, November 11, Warren Select Board acquired a scenic easement that will protect that lookout.
Warren paid $175 in legal fees for the scenic easement, which the town has been working on acquiring for the past few months. The easement is located on private property owned by Monteverde Corporation at the point where Roxbury Mountain Road curves left coming down from the top of the gap toward Warren, allowing drivers their first glimpse of farmland and ridgeline.
In possessing the scenic easement, the town is not required to do work on the property but can if it wants to, such as trimming trees to ensure the lookout does not become too grown in. The development “is small but important,” select board chair Andy Cunningham said.