BURRILLVILLE – They’ve already held raffles, a comedy show and a barbecue – and received a large grant for the purchase.
Now, members of the Burrillville Land Trust will host a golf tournament in hopes to purchase and preserve a historically significant property on East Avenue.
Since 2020, BLT has been fundraising to save Sweet’s Hill, a 151.79-acre lot that was once part of the largest farm in Burrillville. Once part of a 1,000 acre dairy farm owned by Albert Sweet, the property was used to grow and produce hay, corn, milk and more.
Land trust members have noted that the land also has environmental significance, as part of a contiguous forest that stretches all the way to Maine.
The property, owned by Rick St. Angelo of Cranston, was listed for sale in May of 2020 for $2.2 million.
BLT announced an ambitious campaign to buy the lot soon after, and has been hard at work since hosting a variety of fundraising events. The non-profit volunteer organization aims to preserve and protect the rural character of Burrillville, and has purchased some 223 acres in town over the past 20 years, with another 36 acres currently under conservation easements.
Last year, the Levy Foundation committed $100,000 toward the Sweet’s Hill initiative.
“We have raised over $150,000 to date,” said Land Trust president Paul Roselli.
The golf tournament, the latest event in the effort, will be held on Friday, July 22 at Crystal Lake Golf Club at 100 Broncos Highway in Mapleville, with a shot gun start at 8 a.m. The fee to play in the tournament includes 18 holes of golf, a golf cart, a BBQ buffet, $8 credit at the pro shop, “and our appreciation for saving Sweet’s Hill,” Roselli said.
All profits from the event go towards the purchase and stewardship of the property.
The land trust was an instrumental part of the local effort to prevent a 1-gigawatt gas-fired power plant from being built in the Burrillville woods in 2019.
“The entire town, and the entire state was steeped in this process,” noted Roselli. “Saving Sweet’s Hill would be a gift to all those who fought for nearly five years to stop this ecological disaster from taking place.”
The golf tournament will feature prizes to the winners with 1st, 2nd and 3rd low score; longest drive and closest to the pin for both women and men.
“The land trust’s goal has always been to get the word out on saving this property and saving our biodiversity,” said Roberta Lacey, one of the organizers of the event. “This golf tournament is another way of getting the word out about clean water, clean air and the natural beauty all around us. That’s what saving Sweet’s Hill is all about.”
The tournament is looking for sponsors for the day-long event and for golfers, both from all over the state and region.
“Our appeal is statewide and all over,” Roselli said. “When we save this property and put in hiking trails and a nature platform, this will be a destination for folks from all over New England.”
Learn more about the history of the property here.
For more information, to sign up for the golf tournament or to help sponsor the event contact Lacey at (401) 368-0930.