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HOPKINTON, MA-The town’s acquisition of a 250-acre parcel on Fruit Street moved one step closer to reality as Town Meeting okayed the purchase of the property, one of the last large pieces of developable land here and a prime piece of real estate located near Route 495 and the Massachusetts Turnpike.

The town reached a deal to pay $6.4 million for the property and its plans for the site include a school, municipal wells, a Department of Public Works building and possibly some multifamily housing. The site currently houses Pyne Sand and Stone Co. and New England Sand and Gravel, both of whom together own the site.

Jim Pyne, president of Pyne Sand and Stone, acknowledges that he had developers lined up at his door with an interest in acquiring the property but he tells GlobeSt.com that, as a long time resident of Hopkinton, he wanted to see this land be used to serve the town’s needs. “I’ve lived here 60 years and I’ve watched [Hopkinton] grow,” he says.”I’m not donating the land, I can’t afford to do that, but I am pleased that we were able to put this together. We all did the right thing for the future. For me, this was not a difficult decision.”

At one point, the site was slated for development as an upscale golf and country club, but after two years into the process it was discovered that there were endangered species living there. “Those turtles had the effect of an atomic bomb on the project,” notes Pyne. “There was no way to develop the golf course and get the state’s approval. As that project lay dying, I knew that the town was looking for a site for an elementary school so I started a dialogue with them.”

Town officials were able to convince voters to approve the purchase but the last step in the process is a vote for a debt exclusion. That money–which ends up being $3.35 million because part of the purchase is being funded through the Community Preservation Act and the Water Enterprise Fund–will increase property taxes here by $47 a year on a $371,000 home, the average price of a home here.

Theodore Kozak, the town’s executive secretary acknowledges that this prime real estate and that’s one of the reasons why the town wants it. “The town is going through a lot of growth pains now,” he tells GlobeSt.com. “We wanted this property for municipal use rather than residential use because of the potential strain on the school system and other services.”

Kozak says that the town is considering putting some multifamily housing on the site with an affordable component in order to reach its required 10% of affordable housing. He also notes that developing some commercial space has not been ruled out.

“We’re pretty excited about the prospects of this property for the community,” he says.

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