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Buckland seeks grants for recreation area, Wilder Homestead

The Wilder Homestead, built around 1775, is on the National Register of Historic Places. Repairing the barn would be a way to preserve the town’s heritage and a cultural resource for the area.  (Recorder file photo)

The Wilder Homestead, built around 1775, is on the National Register of Historic Places. Repairing the barn would be a way to preserve the town’s heritage and a cultural resource for the area. (Recorder file photo)

BUCKLAND — Selectmen are unanimously supporting the town’s Historical Commission and Recreation Committee in their applications for state grants, of up to $200,000, for improvements on the 1770s-era Wilder Homestead and for renovations at the Buckland Recreation Area, which would include a new drive and a playground.

The Buckland Historical Society asked the board to sign a letter of support for a grant called “Promoting Community Development and Tourism in Central and Western Massachusetts.”

The purpose of the grant will be to repair and preserve the 1779 English-style barn that is part of the Wilder Homestead area. The selectmen’s letter of support says that the Wilder Homestead, built around 1775, is on the National Register of Historic Places, and that repairing the barn would be a way to preserve the town’s heritage and a cultural resource for the area.

Also, the highly visible homestead is part of the Route 112 Scenic Byway Corridor. The homestead is a furnished 1775 saltbox with five fireplaces, a 1779 English barn with antique farming equipment and a shoemaker’s shop on Route 112. Programs are regularly held there during the summer and for school groups.

The town Recreation Committee is also seeking a $200,000 grant for another attraction on the Route 112 Scenic Byway Corridor — The Buckland Recreation Area. Recently, the entrance to Buckland Rec has been torn up during road construction work on Route 112. The Recreation Commission hopes to realign the driveway, which currently falls within a wetlands buffer zone, and to create a playground area with play structures, not far from the swimming pool.

The recreation area was used by 135 Buckland families this summer, along with another 130 families and individuals from Ashfield, Conway and Shelburne, who purchased memberships and day passes.

The swimming pool is also used by the Mohawk Camp, a day-camp serving between 50 to 60 children daily from Buckland and nine other nearby communities. The stream bed behind the recreation area was flooded and eroded during Tropical Storm Irene in 2011, and the erosion threatens the access road and parking.

Among the work to be done is:

∎  clearing pine trees that were once planted to be sold as Christmas trees. They are now overgrown.

∎  Removal of the existing driveway that runs parallel to the river. The area will be loamed and seeded, to increase the wetlands buffer zone.

∎  Installation of a new driveway, away from potential flooding.

∎  Installation of a new playground.

You can reach Diane Broncaccio at: broncaccio@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 277

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