No bids received for Pownal forestland

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POWNAL — There were no bidders for 218 acres of forested, former watershed land in Pownal, for which the city of North Adams, Mass., had issued a request for proposals.

"Strangely, no proposals were received," said Michael Nuvallie, the city's Community Development office special projects coordinator.

RFP responses to advertisements were due by Friday morning concerning the largely forested property. The land is part of a former backup water intake area for the city's water system that is no longer used. It borders Williamstown, Mass., and is near the Appalachian Trail and Green Mountain National Forest land in Pownal.

Outgoing North Adams Mayor Richard Alcombright, who did not seek re-election, had gained approval in August from the City Council to seek proposals for the property, which is assessed in Pownal at $378,300 on 218.6 acres. He had said his preference was for some type of transfer that would conserve the property.

The city previously sold a total of 3,420 acres in the area to the national forest in 2006 and 2007, according to Pownal real estate records.

Alcombright said prior to the RFP deadline that approval of any offer for the land would likely have to go back to the council for final approval, and an agreement also would be reviewed by Mayor-elect Tom Bernard, who will be sworn in on Monday.

The land has drawn the interest of conservationists who would like to see the property protected, according to Donald Campbell, Southwest regional director with the Vermont Land Trust. He said the VLT would consider assisting in any effort to preserve the land.

Campbell said Friday he intends to look into whether there are groups or organizations that might have considered submitting an RFP but didn't do so.

The Trustees of Reservations owns meadow and forestland in the vicinity — part of a preserved natural area that includes hiking trails and is located in both Williamstown and Pownal.

Jim Therrien writes for New England Newspapers in Southern Vermont and VTDigger.org. @BB_therrien on Twitter.


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