The view from Bournedale Elementary School across Ernest Valeri Road has undergone a drastic change over the past two weeks.
Workers have cut down and cleared hundreds of trees on roughly 10 acres of land to make way for the new town Department of Public Works facility.
Excavators this week were at work on the site, pulling up all the stumps and hauling them away.
Integrated Solid Waste Management General Manager Daniel T. Barrett said that the tree cutting and stump clearing began on Monday, October 28. That work has been done by Peter J. Govoni Land Services of Forestdale, and next week town work crews will start moving in their own equipment—an excavator, two bulldozers, a loader, and two dump trucks—that will be used to level the site for the new building, Mr. Barrett said.
“We’ll be a couple of months establishing the grade,” Mr. Barrett said.
“With good weather, we could be done sooner,” he said.
The $11 million facility, which is being built between the school and Scenic Highway, was approved by voters at Town Meeting in May. Clearing of the site was delayed while agents with the Massachusetts Natural Heritage Agency conducted a survey of the area. It had been determined to be a possible nesting place for Eastern box turtles, considered a “species of special concern” in the Bay State.
No turtles have been found, but in the event that any were, the town established a “conservation restricted area” within the boundaries of the land designated for the facility. Any turtles found would have been moved to that area.
Creation of the conservation restricted area had some residents with homes in the area concerned that abutting the property would decrease the value of their home. Bourne Planning Board Chairman Christopher J. Farrell assured concerned residents that it actually increases the value of a home since no other homes could be built there.