Conservation groups purchase Solviken property
The Block Island Conservancy and Block Island Land Trust announced this week that they have begun the process of purchasing the Solviken property on Corn Neck Road.
The property, just north of the Beachead Restaurant, contains a parking lot popular with surfers and a dilapidated building that was formerly used as an inn. Various owners have attempted to develop the land. The most recent applied to the Zoning Board last year to get approval for septic systems to service three four-bedroom homes; that application has been withdrawn.
The property, which is split up into three lots, sold for $1.25 million.
The Land Trust bought one of the three lots on March 5, and the two groups have committed to purchasing the third lot, which has the Solviken house on it, by the end of November. Neighboring property owners purchased the northernmost lot and gave the Land Trust and the BIC an easement over it.
The groups hope to raise the $417,000 necessary to purchase the third lot through fundraising. Land Trust Chair Barbara MacMullan said that the town is looking for grant money, but the group won’t wait for that to happen and will try to raise all the money through private donations.
“Hopefully the community is as excited about this as we are,” MacMullan said. “This purchase is for the public so they can continue to use this property.”
The Land Trust noted in a statement that conservation of the Solviken property has been a goal for some time, since the property borders the inner ponds and can be used for public access. MacMullan said that there are no firm plans for the property except that the dirt parking lot will remain open to public use. She also said that the Solviken building would likely be removed.
The conservation groups have not yet announced any specific fundraising plans. MacMullan said there would likely be a series of events throughout the summer to raise money. The Block Island Conservancy also notes that contributions may be made to the BIC at any time, specifying the donation is for the Solviken property.
“This really is an exciting acquisition for the town,” Land Trust member Barbara Michel said. “It is a big deal.”