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Cape Elizabeth Land Trust closes in on purchase of Robinson Woods II

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Cape Elizabeth Land Trust closes in on purchase of Robinson Woods II

CAPE ELIZABETH — Long-term preservation and protection of woods along Shore Road is close to becoming a reality.

The Cape Elizabeth Land Trust is just shy of reaching its $1.2 million goal for purchase of the 63-acre Robinson Woods II parcel. The trust has about $25,000 more to raise, President Ted Darling said this week.

"This particular property was the No. 1 priority for the town and the land trust," Darling said. "We're excited the funding has come through. We've had great community support."

Darling said he thinks the funding will be completed by Sept. 30, and expects to close on the property by mid-November.

The land trust is a nonprofit group of residents whose focus is on protecting and preserving natural habitats in Cape Elizabeth.

The woodlands contain valuable habitat for waterfowl and wading birds, and about a mile of trails that are part of the town's Greenbelt network.

This purchase will combine with 80 acres of adjoining woodlands, called Robinson Woods, purchased by the trust in 2003, and be used for recreation and educational purposes. It will also complete part of the town's broad 1977 land preservation vision.

The town dedicated $350,000 to the land trust in June last year. Almost half of that pledge, $150,000, will come from the town's land-acquisition fund. The remaining $200,000 is part of a 20-year bond.

The only requirement for the money is that the land trust must provide a public access easement for the town across the property.

"It's important because it's going to be part of the Greenbelt and we need to be able to have people be able to traverse it," Town Manager Mike McGovern said.

The land trust has raised about $75,000 since it began seeking donations from the public. Those donations are being matched by a grant from resident Paul Coulombe.

Additional funding for the property has come from individuals, private foundation grants, the trust board of directors, and organizational land reserves.

This piece of land will secure one of three remaining pieces in the area, leaving only about a quarter of a mile that is not permanently protected, Darling said.

The land trust is working on projects for the property that they will roll out the year after the land is purchased, he said.

"We greatly appreciate the support for this project from the community," Darling said. "It was focus project for us and it has been very successful."

Will Graff can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or wgraff@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @W_C_Graff.