I write in enthusiastic support of Article 11, a debt exclusion for up to $5.1 million to purchase 69.895 acres known as the Walsh Property on the warrant of Truro Town Meeting. This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity and we can’t let it pass us by.
70 acres in Truro is a game changer for nearly every issue we face. Housing for seniors and municipal workforce, watershed conversation, recreation trails, community gardens, and open space all come to mind. Several cottages on the property already can be put to municipal use once the sale is finalized. Yet what encourages me most about Article 11 is the deliberative process the Select Board has proposed to determine uses of the parcel, a public input-driven approach to envision what we do with such an asset in the coming years and decades.
Thanks to the foresight of prior generations, 70% of Truro and much of the Outer Cape is preserved and wild because of the Cape Cod National Seashore. I don’t know what challenges Truro will face in 2030, 2060, and beyond, but I do know the existential question of the day: How does a town of 2,000 odd souls sustain a functioning community with a dwindling and aging population in a special place that has become profoundly unaffordable? The Walsh property gives Truro acres to creatively confront today’s pressing needs, and dozens more acres for problems and challenges that we can’t yet imagine. This is an investment that we can bequest to our grandchildren and great-grandchildren; it’s a tremendous opportunity for present and future residents of Truro.
Article 11 does ask taxpayers to pay a hefty sum, but in the grand scheme of real estate on the Outer Cape, it’s a bargain. With the median home price in Truro at $691,000 and ever on the rise, the Walsh Property comes in at slightly less than $73,000 an acre — a price that’s unheard of! For a property assessed at $500,000, the debt exclusion would add under $100 to the yearly tax bill (and that amount that would diminish every year).
If the voters, in their wisdom, pass this measure, you have my full commitment and support for whatever we — the residents of Truro — decide to do with the Walsh property. I feel privileged and honored to be in a position where I can advocate for my hometown at the highest levels of state government. The next time I talk to my colleagues about watershed management or elder friendly recreation or housing in rural communities, I want to raise up the 70 acres that Truro has purchased — and then figure out how the Commonwealth can contribute to realizing whatever we’ve dreamed this parcel to be.
The promise of the Walsh property is it gives us the flexibility and the freedom to take on steep challenges while setting aside a land reserve for Truro’s future. It’s a once in a generation opportunity. I encourage my fellow Truro voters to support Article 11 unanimously at Town Meeting on April 30th.