Northampton receives ‘A’ award from Mass Audubon

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In recognition of its efforts to preserve open space, the city of Northampton received the “A” award at the Massachusetts Audubon Society’s Annual Meeting last fall.
The city has been increasing its preserved open space for the past 20 years, at a rate of about 1 percent per year. In 2017, Northampton added 300 acres of preserved space, according to Planning and Sustainability Director Wayne Feiden, thereby reaching 25 percent of the city’s land as permanently protected open space.
The city employs internal metrics to ensure that the protection of open space for the benefit of the community does not result in inflating building lot costs, in part by finding opportunities to preserve open space in conjunction with other goals, including building housing and improving the city’s walkability.
The city uses a combination of city, state and federal funding, community fundraising, and limited development projects to be able to purchase public land and to permanently protect private land. The city also partners with a number of conservation groups, including Mass Audubon.