Conservation Opportunity at Coogan Farm Announced

February 7, 2012

The Trust for Public Land (TPL), a national nonprofit conservation organization, and the Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center (DPNC) announced today that TPL has reached a preliminary agreement to purchase 34 acres known as the Coogan Farm for conservation, recreation, and habitat protection. If the acquisition is successful, the Nature Center will become the permanent owner and manager of the land.

Maggie Jones, the Nature Center’s Executive Director, said that an agreement on price and other terms had been reached, and DPNC is moving forward with the acquisition, including fund-raising. DPNC has identified many benefits of protecting the remainder of the Coogan Farm, “I am so pleased that our partnership with The Trust for Public Land has led to an opportunity to preserve this valuable property.” The Coogan Farm is the last remaining open space near historic downtown Mystic. The Nature Center plans to protect the Farm’s field and meadow habitats while incorporating existing and new trails through the Coogan Farm into a community-wide trail system. The acquisition will create a greenway for wildlife and people by connecting the Nature Center, Denison Homestead and Avalonia Land Conservancy properties to the Mystic River. “The Coogan Farm is an important addition to the Nature Center and the community at large. It will enhance our educational programs while providing trail connections and areas the public can enjoy for hiking and wildlife viewing.”

“The Coogan Farm offers important conservation and recreational values, wildlife habitat, archeological resources and natural features. It captures the essence of Mystic country with stonewalls, meadows and vistas across the Mystic river to the west and southward over Long Island Sound. With a prominent location between Coogan Boulevard and Route 27, it offers unparalleled opportunities and connections for residents and visitors to Mystic Seaport, Mystic Aquarium, and adjacent neighborhoods and businesses.”

The property is part of a 63-acre parcel owned by the Clara Morgan Coogan Trust that is currently under subdivision review by the Town of Stonington. The 34-acre acquisition will join 11 acres of open space set aside as part of the subdivision of the larger property. BROM Builders, Inc. is currently seeking town approval to develop 245 age-restricted living units on an 18-acre parcel.

BROM Builders and the Nature Center have agreed to work together to develop public trails and remove invasive plant species on Coogan Farm to mitigate the impacts of a sewer easement that will cross the property. Joe Mastronunzio, BROM Builders’s President and General Manager said the land conservation project would benefit residents of the development, calling it “the perfect marriage.”