A few years ago my husband, Franco, and I decided that we had spent some very fun years in Blandford raising our children and enjoying so many wonderful people in this small town. It was home for 35 years!
We own Conklin Office Furniture and had just moved our company to Holyoke from Springfield. We decided that we needed to make a smaller footprint on this Earth...so our thought was to move closer to our business. We had lived in Blandford for 35 years and were ready to move closer to work and play! Our children had their own families now and they too work in our company.
We started to look in the Holyoke area and came to Rock Valley... there was a property for sale. After looking at this and considering this lovely area... we were contacted by the Conservation Commissioner who was on Valley Land Fund with me. We worked together to save open space and farmland and she wanted to let me know of some property on Mountain Road that was going to development that she wanted to protect.
The Metts Farm was introduced to us... 34 acres, farmhouse and beautiful barn. The heirs had already sold 17 acres across the street and were in negotiations with a developer to sell the 34 acres to housing. Natural Heritage had declared it an area of concern. They had 4 endangered species listed... two wetland plants, a salamander and the Black Rat Snake. It was a priority for them and they were looking for a conservation buyer to help them put a "deal" together.
We looked at the property... the house was close to the road... we decided to contact the heirs and convince them that their sister would have wanted to protect this farm from development. They listened... We struck a deal to purchase the property. We then worked with Massachusetts Fish and Wildlife to put a project together. We bought the entire property knowing that we would sell the home and barn with two acres to someone who wanted to restore the house historically. We had many treasures left in the barn to help with the project! We then sold 20 acres to Fish and Wildlife so that it could become a part of the East Mt protected area and the New England Trail. We kept 11 acres to build our house and barn and continue to groom the fields for wildlife. It is a beautiful piece of property in an urban setting.
The house and barn next door are being restored and Lou and Sue have a booming Egg and Sunflower business!!!
Without the help of Mark Noonan and Winding River we would have never been able to have the know how as to how to structure this deal. We worked with Winding River and the State to make it happen...We have saved a beautiful Historic home and barn...have a great space for wildlife and have set aside another 20 acres for the community to hike and enjoy...
- Rosemary Arnold