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Friends near on funds goal

In their quest to purchase and preserve 18 acres of wetlands and a log house in Freeland, the Friends of Freeland are closing in on their fund raising goal.

Now called “Log House Acres” by the group, the property is still about $600,000 away from being entirely within the group’s grasp. In September, the Friends and Steve and Debra Shapiro and Robert and Janis Adamson purchased the acreage and house from bankrupt builder Chris Kelly for $635,000. The Friends now own 12 acres of wetlands, while the Shapiros and Adamsons own separate lots totaling about 6 acres. The group has agreed to purchase those six acres back from the Shapiros and Adamsons, who are members of Friends of Freeland.

Peggy Juve, a member of the Friends’ board of directors, reported in a press release last week that the group has raised about $20,000 toward its initial $50,000 fund-raising goal. The group plans to make that goal by March 1.

A second phase of fund-raising — for which the Friends have set a goal of $350,000 — will take place over the next two years.

Jeanne Juneau, another Friends director, said she believes the Friends will make that goal.

“We’re seeing enormous support from the community, and feel confident of meeting our goals,” Juneau wrote in the press release.

The Friends held two fund-raising events in recent months. Juneau said the events brought dozens of people to the Freeland property to see for themselves why the land and the Log House are worth saving.

Juneau said that a lease-purchase option gives the Friends full use of the property while they raise money. More events are planned to raise funds to purchase the remainder of the property.

“We are actively seeking grant monies and public funding as a nonprofit organization, but we do rely on donations from the community and beyond,” she wrote.

A portion of the land purchased by the friends is zoned for commercial use. Group spokespersons have said over the past few months they plan to do limited development there. The wetlands will remain a nature preserve.

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