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AYER — The Community Preservation Committee (CPC) met to begin devising a Community Preservation Plan. The group intends to use the town’s Comprehensive Master Plan as a starting point for their plan by including some of its content that coincides with preservation.

Chairman Richard Gilles opened the discussion by reading the committee’s legal duties, which include studying community resource needs, developing preservation and financial plans, and releasing annual recommendations and budgets.

”The key here is that we are supposed to have a plan,” said Gilles.

Up until now the CPC has only reacted to proposals for community preservation spending instead of creating them, said CPC member Patricia Walsh.

To do so the committee would have to start from scratch, said CPC and Conservation Commission (ConsCom) member David Bodurtha.

”There is no reason we can’t make proposals,” said Vice Chairman Robert Pena.

The CPC was actually supposed to, said Gilles.

The three main items the CPC looked at as a framework for their plan were open space and recreation, historical preservation and housing. The CPC spent most of the discussion on open space and recreation.

”David (Bodurtha) and I spent quite a bit of time getting the open space in the town. It might be interesting to have the committee see some of the parcels we acquired,” said Walsh. “I think you’d be surprised at what the town does have.”

”We (ConsCom) are trying to get more access to the land that we do own,” said Bodurtha.

”That has been a recommendation for years,” said Walsh.

Bodurtha also took the opportunity to talk about the new Green Way Committee (GWC), a volunteer citizen group that plans on helping build trails and access points for open space and conservation land. The GWC meets on the last Saturday of each month, at 10:30 a.m., at the Ayer Public Library.

Bodurtha plans on bringing a map of the parcels of open space owned by Ayer to the next CPC meeting to give the other members an idea of how much there is. One of the main problems facing the committee is making reproductions of the map, as the only ones available with the parcels outlined have been altered by hand.

”Ultimately we need something we can hand out to the public,” said Pena. One of the options that the CPC may have is to make Geographic Information System (GIS) maps. Ayer has recently acquired software capable of producing GIS maps once it is ready.

Gilles asked his fellow CPC members to try and think of more specific items for their next meeting. Once they have a formal list of preservation goals the CPC intends to prioritize them, a process they may try and include the public in.

”To make it part of the community we have to give them their piece,” said Gilles.

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