The town of Raymond is hoping to purchase 83 acres of land previously used as a landfill on Egypt Road.

The property belongs to Trudylinn Files of Raymond who previously applied to develop a subdivision. Files refused comment on the proposal.

According to Town Manager Don Willard, the 83 acres were used as a municipal landfill for approximately 20 years until 1983 when the state closed down landfill sites statewide. The shutdown was completed under state supervision, he said.

Files applied for approval to build a 9-lot subdivision on the front portion of the land last year. Raymond selectmen initiated an evaluation of the site that was mostly funded by the Department of Environmental Protection. The town also hired the engineering firm of Woodard & Curran to do testing of the groundwater for possible contamination.

“Preliminary testing yielded a result of no catastrophic contamination,” said Willard. “Testing didn’t prove or disprove health risks.”

“The testing was strictly hydrogeological. We only tested drinking water sources for contamination. Nothing found was out of the ordinary,” Amanda Simpson, assessor’s agent with a background in certified planning, clarified when asked what the test results yielded.

Raymond hopes to buy the land to be maintained as open space reserve by the Conservation Committee. According to Willard the town selectmen decided to negotiate the purchase because of the public safety concern posed by the pollution under the landfill which could find its way into a subdivision’s water supply.

“We are protecting against the unknown,” Simpson said.

The Board of Selectmen, after holding executive sessions on the matter, has reached an agreement with Files to pay $100,000 for the 83 acres. Willard stated that $75,000 would come from town budget surplus and $25,000 would come from the Open Space Reserve Fund.

Raymond is responsible for liability of the site regardless whether they purchase the land, so, in addition to the money paid, the town would also indemnify Files from any future concerns that may arise.

Preliminary ideas for use of ther acreage includes installation of a baseball field or recreational area on a portion of the land, Willard said. Tax assessor Simpson stressed that the land can be used for functions not requiring wells to be dug for drinking water. The purpose of the town buying the land is to not develop it residentially.

Former Selectman Dana Desjardins has qualms over using the area for playing fields.

“I don’t think I want my kid playing baseball over a landfill that could be contaminated,” he said.

The matter will go before voters at Annual Town Meeting in May. Willard said that preparation of a legal document has begun in hopes of a favorable vote during the town meeting. Town officials say they wish to move as quickly as possible with a target date of possession of the property at the beginning of the fiscal year which begins July 1, 2005.


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