Land bank expands John Presbury Norton Farm

Martha's Vineyard land bank commission purchased a 22.4-acre property in West Tisbury for $3 million.

The Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank Commission has announced the purchase of a new piece of land in West Tisbury.

The new piece of conserved land stretches 22.4 acres off State Road, sitting between Nip ‘n Tuck Farm and another land bank property, the 118-acre John Presbury Norton Farm. The commission plans to incorporate the new land with the John Presbury Norton Farm.

The land bank describes the land as “a long pine allée [leading] to a large grassy meadow dotted by kettle ponds,” in its press release. Kettle ponds are deep ponds formed by melting glaciers.

There are bunk houses on the property, as well, which the land bank might use as housing for summer employees who do maintenance on the land.

The land was purchased from Sheila Murphy for $3 million. Her late husband Robert had tended the land for many years. The land bank had been in on and off contact with Murphy since 1990. Murphy eventually hired a realtor to assess the value of the land and put it on the market with the land bank coming away with the winning bid.

The land bank’s preliminary management plan calls for the maintenance of the grassland. “It’s a very beautiful rolling grassland,” James Lengyel, executive director of the land bank, told The Times. The land will be closed for the next year and studied by the land bank’s ecologist, Julie Russell who will study the kettle ponds and determine the land’s agricultural potential. The land will also potentially be integrated into the land bank’s trail system.

Members of the public with questions about the acquisition are encouraged to attend one of the land bank’s regular Monday evening meetings or one of the meetings of the West Tisbury town advisory board.