Pole Bridge Property Protected (CT)

NEWTOWN, Connecticut, 10/28/02: The Town of Newtown announced today its purchase of 21 acres on Pole Bridge Road as permanently protected open space. The property was purchased from John and Madeline Aragones, with assistance from the Trust for Public Land (TPL), a national nonprofit conservation organization.

“This is great news for Newtown,” said First Selectman Herb Rosenthal. “We are grateful for the assistance of the Trust for Public Land, the hard work of the Newtown Open Space Committee, and the patience and flexibility of the Aragones family in making this project possible.”

“It is very exciting to be announcing this purchase,” said Robert Sibley, chair of the Newtown Open Space Committee. “Not only is this an important accomplishment for the town, it is the first step in what I hope will be a larger effort to set aside open space for Newtown.”

“We are delighted to be working with the Town of Newtown to protect the region’s natural environment and open space resources,” remarked Whitney Hatch, acting Connecticut director for the Trust for Public Land. “Now this land will be protected forever for current and future generations of residents to enjoy.”

“It’s wonderful to know that this beautiful site will always be open space for the people of Newtown to enjoy,” said Madeline Aragones, who previously owned the Pole Bridge property with her husband. “As people who love the outdoors, we are extremely pleased with this outcome for our land.”

The scenic Pole Bridge property, which is visible from Interstate 84, lies adjacent to 94 acres of existing town conservation land. With today’s purchase, the town has assembled 115 acres to create the Pole Bridge Open Space Preserve. The land is predominantly forested and provides habitat for many wildlife species, as well as a network of recreation trails for hiking, jogging, and cross country skiing. The property also includes a vernal pool, which provides habitat for rare amphibians, and it drains into Pole Bridge Brook, which is a spawning ground for native brook trout.

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 last spring for $330,000 and, since that time, has been working with the Town to assemble funds for the purchase. The Town will be reimbursed by the Department of Environmental Protection for $138,775, thanks to an award from the Open Space and Watershed Land Acquisition Grant Program announced in September. The remainder of the funds were approved by voters as part of the town budget last May.

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 www.tpl.org/Connecticut.