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Resident to tend town land

Woman, four-legged friends helping maintain overrun property

By Amber Marra - amarra@nvdaily.com

STRASBURG -- A small portion of Strasburg will be tended by a resident and a few of her four-legged stewards of the land after a memorandum of agreement was approved by the Town Council recently.

Anita Richard approached the council at an Oct. 18 work session to address some troubling things she had noticed about a parcel near her family's farm on Zea Street.
Strasburg bought the property from Richard's family a few years ago to use as a secondary entrance to the new water treatment plant, meaning the general upkeep was passed on to the town, according to acting Town Manager Judson Rex.

In October, Richard said that the grass was more than a foot high and that groundhogs had started to overrun the property. The portion of Town Run near the property had also become cluttered with trash and other debris, she said.

At the Dec. 14 Town Council meeting, no one commented at a public hearing and the panel voted unanimously to allow Richard to tend to the small area for the next five years. Under the agreement, Richard will pay no rent for use of the property as long as she maintains it, but it will remain under the ownership of the town.

She won't be alone in her effort, however, with a mule and four horses to help her trim the grass to a manageable level. There were some issues regarding fencing used to not only keep the animals from getting out of their enclosed area, but also from keeping them from wading in the Town Run.

"I think it would be wise to specify that fencing is to be around the Town Run, given the problems we are facing with the Chesapeake Bay with pollution," said Councilman Bob Baker.

Though town crews have not been able to maintain the property in the past, the memorandum of understanding states that Richard will gain assistance from the town for the initial cleanup.

Richard has also said in the past that should the town need to use the property to gain access to the water treatment plant, she would be willing to cooperate. This may be unlikely event since the Town Run goes through the property and accessing the plant could be complicated, according to Rex.

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