Local Legislators Announce Open Space Grant For New Milford

April 7, 2003

Senator Andrew Roraback, R-Goshen, and Representative Clark Chapin, R-New Milford, today announced that the Town of New Milford has been awarded a $411,500 grant toward the cost of acquiring property at the Henderson Farm for open space.

Lieutenant Governor M. Jodi Rell and state Department of Environmental Protection officials announced the grant Monday at a press conference in Litchfield. According to DEP, the 83 acres of property is part of the Aspetuck River Watershed, and its acquisition will add to a growing and diverse greenway. The property consists of a mixed deciduous forest, hemlock-birch forest, and a red maple wetland, along with active and abandoned farm fields that provide a varied array of wildlife habitat.

“Preserving and protecting ecologically important land is a worthwhile investment. I am grateful that we are able to save this land for the enjoyment of future generations,” said Senator Roraback.

“The efforts to preserve this property started under the Peitler Administration, when I was a member of the Town Council. After literally years of hard work, we’ve finally been able to accomplish our goal. This is proof of what can be done when the state, town and private land trusts work together, said Representative Chapin, adding that public funds will be used only for land acquisition; the future of several older buildings on the property has yet to be determined.

Representative Chapin also noted that the state, Town of New Milford, Trust for Public Land and Weantinoge Land trust worked in conjunction to preserve the New Milford property. In addition to the state funds, the town is expected to contribute $250,000 for the property from the Land Reserve Acquisition fund, an account dedicated for open space acquisition. The Weantinoge Land Trust is also expected to contribute funds later this year he said.

The state has an overall goal of preserving 21 percent of Connecticut’s land as open space by 2023. Under this particular open space program, more than 14,000 acres have been preserved by the state. With the announcement of this ninth round of grants, state officials expect that total to reach 16,196 acres. Beyond this particular open space grant program, the DEP has acquired 30,506 acres since 1998, including the BHC/Kelda Company property.