Grant to Help Protect Pole Bridge Property (CT)

>NEWTOWN, Connecticut, 9/16/02: On Thursday, September 12, the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced an award of $138,775 to the Town of Newtown from the Open Space and Watershed Land Acquisition Grant Program. The grant will be applied towards the Town’s proposed purchase of 21 acres on Pole Bridge Road for protection as open space. The award was hailed by the Town and the Trust for Public Land (TPL), a national nonprofit organization which is assisting with the project.

“On behalf of the Town of Newtown, I would like to thank the State for this amazing award,” said Newtown first selectman Herb Rosenthal. “I would also like to express gratitude to the Trust for Public Land for not only negotiating the Town’s agreement to purchase the Pole Bridge property, but for helping us to find the money needed to make the purchase happen. The residents of Newtown are excited to gain 21 acres of forested land.”

“Protecting the visual quality of Newtown is a primary goal of the Open Space Committee, and this generous grant pushes us a giant stop closer to that target,” said Robert Sibley, co-chair of the Newtown Open Space Committee. “We would like to thank the DEP, and everyone involved, for helping us to preserve Newtown’s beauty and rural community character.”

“The Trust for Public Land commends the State of Connecticut for recognizing the importance of this project to the local community,” said Tim Northrop, Connecticut director for the Trust for Public Land. “This generous award is a truly fitting acknowledgement of the time and hard work put into the project by everyone involved.”

At the request of the Newtown Board of Selectmen and the Open Space Committee TPL began negotiating an agreement to acquire the Pole Bridge property from John and Madeline Aragones last spring and, since that time, has been working with the Town to assemble funds for the purchase. Today’s grant is a significant step towards the $330,000 purchase price. The Town of Newtown’s contribution of $191,225 will comprise the remainder of the funding. The Town hopes to acquire the property by the end of the year, using funds approved by voters as part of the town budget last May.

“John and I are so thankful for the positive results of this project,” said Madeline Aragones, who currently owns the Pole Bridge property with her husband. “Because of this grant, and all of the hard-working project partners, the residents of Newtown will have acres of beautiful, untouched land to explore and enjoy.”

Visible from Interstate 84, the Pole Bridge property will be combined with adjacent Town Conservation Land to create the 115-acre Pole Bridge Open Space Preserve. The predominantly forested property includes stands of both mixed hardwood trees and hemlock, and provides habitat for a variety of nesting birds, small mammals, and amphibians. The property is crossed by recreation trails ideal for walking, jogging, and cross country skiing and drains into Pole Bridge Brook, which is a spawning ground for a native brook trout population.

The Trust for Public Land is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving land for people to enjoy as parks and open space. Since 1972, TPL has protected more than 1.4 million acres nationwide, including nearly 100,000 acres in New England. For more information about TPL’s work in Connecticut, visit