School, fields proposed for Abington dairy site
Abington school Superintendent Peter Schafer has again raised the idea of building a middle school on the town-owned property known as Griffin’s Dairy.
Schafer brought up the proposal at the Griffin’s Dairy Study Committee’s recent meeting, at which Steven Wakelin, chairman of the Park and Recreation Commission, said he would also like to see playing fields on the site.
Though a 2007 decision to build a middle school at the 64-acre site faltered with the economic downturn, Schafer said a new feasibility study might be done with the help of the Massachusetts School Building Authority. The state agency could end up reimbursing the town for part of the cost of a new school, which would include an auditorium, according to Town Manager John D’Agostino.
Other thoughts on the land’s use include a solar panel farm, which D’Agostino would like to see installed near Bellows Circle, or a return to agricultural use by Hingham farmer John Hornstra, who recently restored an old farm in Norwell.
D’Agostino said that solar panels could save the town $2.5 million to $3.5 million over 20 years and that “agriculture and solar panels complement each other in terms of sustaining farming.’’
Hornstra, who attended a committee meeting two months ago, said that the land probably couldn’t maintain both agriculture and a solar panel farm.
Though purchased by the town in 1998, the property has remained unused but for the recent clean-up, a farmers’ market, and a community garden organized by Saving Abington with Green Energy.
John Dombrowski, a longtime environmental watchdog of the property, is hoping that a number of ideas raised since the property’s purchase - such as agriculture, 4-H programs, an agricultural school, community garden, environmental training center, veterinary clinic, petting zoo, or a golf training school - will be considered if anyone comes to the table with viable plans.
Dombrowski has been e-mailing abutters and other interested parties to advise them of public meeting dates where they can weigh in on the issue.
D’Agostino is expected to present an update on the Griffin’s Dairy discussions at tomorrow’s Board of Selectmen meeting, starting at 6:30 p.m. in the Cotter Room at Town Hall.