DAVIDSON – A conservation-minded buyer is interested in the foreclosed Neighborhoods at the Abersham development, Davidson Lands Conservancy Executive Director Roy Alexander said at the conservancy’s annual meeting Monday night, Nov. 15.
Two banks took control of the development this year, raising concerns about what would happen to the ample conservation easements originally envisioned for the community at Grey and Shearer roads, northeast of the town.
“There’s an exciting prospect just ahead of us,” Alexander said. “I can’t talk about it in any detail tonight, but it is an excellent resolution to this problem. There’s potentially a very conservation-friendly buyer. Hopefully, they’ll be able to close the deal.”
Davidson Land Conservancy and the Town of Davidson maintain that any new owners should abide by the original conservation restrictions approved for Abersham.
Gibson Smith Realty Co. has been marketing the subdivision’s Phase I, with a listed price of $2.9 million.
The news about Abersham was just one of the positive notes at the annual meeting, held at at Davidson College Presbyterian Church and attended by about 50 people.
The Bailey Springs development continues, and the developer appears interested in donating 20 to 30 acres to the town, with an easement to the conservancy on 14.2 acres, Alexander said. One remaining item is a flood map issue.
The conservancy also wants to assume responsibility for monitoring the conservation easement held by Mecklenburg County on Fisher Farm Park. The county would retain its authority, and the conservancy would keep tabs on possible uses of the land, especially the most environmentally sensitive areas, Alexander said.
Alexander wants the board to adopt the Upper Rocky River Watershed as an area of special concern. The watershed lies on the boundary between two regional land conservancies, and neither one has identified that land as a project for saving. Davidson is a major component of the basin, and its streams on the east side of Main Street discharge, ultimately, into the watershed.
The conservancy could apply to several sources, including the N.C. Clean Water Management Trust Fund, Cabarrus Soil and Water Conservation District and The Carolina Thread Trail, for funds to save the land, he said.
The conservancy is $13,000 ahead of budget. The Run for Green event raised close to $13,000, and outdoors retailer REI contributed $14,000 for the first public canoe and kayak launch at Lake Davidson and a walking trail near Davidson Day School.
Until now, the public could reach the lake only from Iredell County.
On Oct. 29, more than 30 volunteers cleared 900 feet of trail, in partnership with the Town of Davidson, Davidson Day School, REI and Outdoor Living DPM. This past weekend, about 65 volunteers installed benches and a kiosk and spread gravel.
REI also will contribute $1 when people use its Facebook mobile application to check-in at REI. Find details are on the conservancy’s website, www.davidsonlands.org.
N.C. Sen. Dan Clodfelter spoke to the group, summarizing land and water legislation. He and Rep. Ruth Samuelson were among those who sponsored legislation that requires public entities to show they have no other feasible alternative to condemnation of property that is under conservation easement. Don’t expect many conservation efforts to advance in the General Assembly this year, he warned, since the lawmakers face an even greater budget shortfall than in the past two years.
Conservancy members elected Pam Dykstra president of the nonprofit’s board, succeeding Dave Martin. “I’m really excited about the opportunity to save land and connect with townspeople and get them involved in Davidson Land Conservancy,” Dykstra said. “You see you’re part of something bigger.”
Dykstra has been involved with launching the World of Wonder, or WOW program, in partnership with Woodland Discovery of Cornelius. This program expands the conservancy’s long-established fourth-grade education program to reach parents and children outside the classroom with outdoor activities.