Saving fancy private club while helping migratory birds

From Robert Whitcomb's "Digital Diary,'' in

It was pleasant to learn that the Nature Conservancy has paid $2 million for the development rights to about two-thirds (or 82 acres) of the exclusive Agawam Hunt’s grounds, in East Providence. The organization could also buy development rights, for $980,000, on the golf club’s remaining about 40 acres, The Providence Journal reported on April 16 (“Grounds for Optimism’’). The Conservancy cited the area’s importance for migratory birds, including waterfowl, near the urban core of metro Providence.

The purchase has helped pull the Agawan out of bankruptcy. I have noticed over the years that the Conservancy’s actions sometimes serve to protect land enjoyed by affluent people, often via its takeover of a lot of land next to rich people’s estates. The Agawam presents an interesting case.

Apparently as many as 101 houses could have been built on the Agawam land. Rhode Island has severe eviction and affordable-housing challenges in large part because there’s just not enough housing available. Among other things, more of those old mills should be renovated for residential use and the state urgently needs more multi-family houses. Time to bring back the triple-deckers?