Land Added to Westbrook Greenway (CT)

WESTBROOK, Connecticut, 11/7/02: The Town of Westbrook and the Trust for Public Land (TPL) announced today that 36 acres along Chapman Mill Pond have been permanently protected as open space. The property contains more than 2,000 feet of frontage on the pond, which is located on the Clinton-Westbrook town line off of Horse Hill Road. With help from TPL, the Town purchased the property today from Edward and Harriet Sciongay for $700,000. This purchase is the first phase of a larger open space acquisition. The town plans to complete the project next summer by purchasing an additional 47 acres from the Sciongays.

Westbrook First Selectman Tony Palermo stated, “I am delighted that the first phase of this acquisition has been completed. Many Westbrook residents have told me that this is one property that should be enjoyed by all, not developed—and I fully agree. The Conservation Commission and the Trust for Public Land have done a tremendous job in negotiating this transaction for the public good.”

“The Town of Westbrook is setting a terrific example for other communities by creating and implementing a plan to protect critical open space before it is lost to development,” said Alicia Betty, project manager for the Trust for Public Land. “The completion of this acquisition on Chapman Mill Pond will provide exciting new recreation opportunities, safeguard water quality, and protect significant wildlife habitat.”

Last January, Westbrook voters approved a $2.2 million bond for open space protection, and on July 31, Town Meeting voted to allocate $1.7 million of these funds to the purchase of the entire 83-acre Chapman Mill Pond property. The Town has received an award of $318,500 from the Department of Environmental Protection’s Open Space and Watershed Land Acquisition Grant Program to offset up to 50 percent of the cost of today’s purchase, and plans to apply for an additional state grant for Phase II of the project.

The Chapman Mill Pond property is part of a corridor of open space that stretches from the Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge on Long Island Sound to the Cockaponsett State Forest in northern Westbrook. Prior to today’s purchase, the most recent addition to this greenway was in 2001, when the Town acquired the 24-acre King property on Horse Hill Road.

“The Chapman Mill Pond property is one of those hidden quiet places that only a few people have had access to up until now,” said Thomas ODell, chair of the Westbrook Conservation Commission. “Thanks to today’s purchase, all Westbrook residents will be able to enjoy this beautiful spot and share in the responsibility for protecting it for future generations.”

The land purchased today is primarily forested with birch, spruce, oak, cedar, and a scattering of beech and hickory trees, and is home to a variety of wildlife including coyote, deer, osprey, fox, turkey, horned owl, wood duck, and other migratory birds. It includes frontage on Chapman Mill Pond, which is formed by a dam in the Menunketesuck River as it flows from the towns of Haddam and Killingworth to Long Island Sound in Westbrook. The parcel also includes several small streams, a vernal pool, and other wetlands.

The Trust for Public Land is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting land for people to enjoy as parks and open space. Since 1972, TPL has protected more than 1.4 million acres nationwide, including nearly 3,000 acres in Connecticut.