Fieldstone Farm Project

Funding Sources

The Princeton Land Trust and Mass Audubon are working together to save Fieldstone Farm in Princeton, 270 acres of fields, woods, and wetlands, for agriculture, conservation and public use. This historic property, known to many as the Smith Farm, is recognized as both a local landmark and an ecological treasure. The land is part of a major greenway that includes town park land, Wachusett Meadow Wildlife Sanctuary, and Wachusett Mountain State Reservation. 

We have secured an option to purchase the property by June, 2016. To meet our fundraising goal of $3.1 million we are working with several public and private partners. In partnership, we can reach our goal!

Partners and Potential Funding Components

Mass Audubon and Princeton Land Trust
These two organizations have committed to raising $750,000 from individuals, local and regional foundations and businesses. They have developed a fundraising strategy and are reaching out to the community, members, and foundations for financial support. To date, $340,000 has been raised.

LAND (Local Acquisitions for Natural Diversity) Grant Program
Princeton applied for and received a $400,000 LAND grant for this project (the maximum possible). This program is administered by the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs and provides funding to municipal conservation commissions for the acquisition of land and conservation restrictions for conservation and passive recreation purposes.   The program is a reimbursement program, requiring that the town first expend $650,000, of which $400,000 will be reimbursed within 30 – 60 days.

Town of Princeton (to match State LAND grant)
Princeton received a $400,000 award from the state LAND grant program, which requires that the town provide a local match, the size of which depends on a variety of criteria.  In this case, the town voted and approved to give the required match of $250,000. With these funds, the town will acquire land and conservation restrictions protecting much of the property.  

Agricultural Preservation Restriction (APR) Program
This state program acquires the development rights on active farmland to permanently protect the land from development and keep it in agriculture. Approximately 60 acres of Fieldstone Farm – the core of the farm along Hubbardston Road – are eligible for the APR program due to good soils and current uses. An application has been submitted and preliminary reviews indicate strong support for qualifying and receiving funds.

Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) Mountain Fund
This special fund was established primarily for purchasing land in and around Wachusett Mountain State Reservation, and is funded by a portion of the revenues from the Wachusett Mountain Ski Area. DCR is considering using this fund to purchase a conservation restriction on much of the property’s wooded acreage south of Hubbardston Road.

Worcester Watershed
The City of Worcester has been strategically purchasing land and conservation restrictions on lands in and around their multiple drinking water reservoirs in the towns north of Worcester. The extensive wet meadows of Fieldstone Farm, and the brook that flows through (Cobb Brook), drain to the Quinapoxet Reservoir, one of the city’s important public drinking water supplies. City officials have expressed strong interest in helping to protect the farm through acquisition of a conservation restriction in collaboration with DCR.

Sale of farmland
The 60 acres protected by an Agricultural Preservation Restriction will be sold to a commercial farmer. Regardless of ownership, the APR will ensure that the land remains undeveloped and in active farming. Several inquiries from qualified farmers have been received.

Sale of farmstead
The 4.5-acre farmstead, with its house and outbuildings, will be sold, possibly to the farmland buyer.

Limited development land sales
There has been interest expressed at public meetings for some limited development of housing that meets town needs without compromising the conservation and agricultural values that the project seeks to protect. Four parcels are being evaluated for their development potential and there seems to be genuine interest in buying these parcels.