A small herd of cattle that’s been grazing on Chippens Hill for years likely won’t need to mooooove on anytime soon.
For the first time in many years, the city is preparing to sign a deal that would let cattle graze on municipal land.
About two dozen head of cattle have been chewing through the field at 256 Matthews St. for a long while, officials said, and their owners would like to let them stay there.
But the property recently changed hands when the city purchased it this summer as part of the site of the proposed kindergarten to eighth grade school for West Bristol.
For the cattle to stay, the city has to offer the farmers, Doug Weigert and Robert Avolt, a license to use the land.
The farmers have been paying $350 in annual rent to cover the cost of the property taxes on the land, according to city officials.
The city’s Real Estate Committee agreed to urge city councilors to back a deal that would let the animals stay at the same price but on a month-to-month agreement so the city could tell them to take a hoof when construction nears.
City Councilor Frank Nicastro, who heads the panel, said he has no problem letting the cattle stay as long as the farmers have sufficient insurance.
Edward Krawiecki, Jr, an assistant city attorney, said they’ve already shown the insurance paperwork so he anticipates no problems.
The farmers could not be reached for comment.
The city plans to construct one of two planned 900-student schools on the Matthews Street site by 2015 – and perhaps sooner – as part of a $130 million project that would close four older schools and shift half the K-8 students in town to new buildings.
The other school site is next door to the existing Greene-Hills School on Pine Street.
The new buildings would replace Memorial Boulevard Middle School and three aging primary schools O’Connell, Greene-Hills and Bingham.
The project is slated to begin in earnest only in 2013, but there has been talk of pushing the timetable up.
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