BURRILLVILLE – Tickets went on sale today in a raffle to raise funds for the Burrillville Land Trust’s ambitious effort to save an East Avenue property from development.

The organization will sell 250 tickets in the raffle, funds that will go toward a $2.2 million dollar campaign to purchase Sweet’s Hill and steward the property. One lucky participant will win a roll of 100 $5 Massachusetts Lottery scratch tickets.

“Its a hefty goal. But we have to start somewhere,” said BLT President Paul Roselli of the fundraising effort.

A drawing will be held on Sunday, Feb. 14 at Bravo Brewing Company at 75 Pascoag Main St. in Pascoag at 1 p.m. The drawing will be live streamed on social media on the Burrillville Land Trust Facebook page as well as other social media sites. Each ticket costs $20 and only 250 tickets will be sold.

“The chance to win is pretty good,” said Roberta Lacey, the Sweet’s Hill fundraiser coordinator. “Everyone loves scratch tickets. We wanted to make this event accessible and fun.”

Roselli noted that the raffle event is just the first of many upcoming steps to save the iconic property.

The 150-acre wooded lot known as Sweet’s Hill – or Indian Acres to many long time residents – is a portion of what was once one of the largest farms in Burrillville at over 1,000 acres.

Land Trust member Betty Mencucci laid out the history of the property in her ongoing series on NRI NOW, “Burrillville: Then & Now,” earlier this week. The land trust also produced a campaign video that goes along with the fundraising effort.

Roselli noted that over the 37 years he’s lived in town, the lot has often been slated one type of development or another, but that it, “will be developed if sold.”

“Now, with the coronavirus, we know that a healthy society needs a healthy environment. Without clean air and water, the virus becomes a greater threat,” Roselli said. “We need all the open space and forests we can preserve. We can’t let this place be bulldozed.”

The Land Trust president said he noticed the value of the open land on Sweet’s Hill during his first trips to Burrillville.

“The rolling hills, wetlands, forest edge, fireflies like fireworks sparkled during hot August nights – if first impressions are lasting ones, this one told me everything I needed to know about the town and what I wanted from a place I was about to call home,” Roselli said.

BLT is a non-profit all volunteer private organization that aims to help the town maintain its rural character has acquired just over 229 acres of land in Burrillville over the past 21 years.

To purchase tickets for the fundraising raffle, look for details on social media, the Burrillville Land Trust website, call (401) 447-1560 or email paul@paulroselli.com. Because of COVID restrictions, tickets for a chance to win can be delivered to those who want to purchase them.

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