Protection of Mather Meadows Moves Forward (CT)

DARIEN, Connecticut, 10/31/02: The Land Trust of Darien and the Trust for Public Land announced today that they are moving forward with the purchase of the 9-acre Mather Meadows property near the intersection of Stephen Mather and Brookside Roads. This decision was made possible by the successful fundraising campaign that has brought in almost the entire $3.8 million purchase price.

“We have been overwhelmed by the community’s generosity, particular in these uncertain financial times,” explained Susan Cheswick Brewer, campaign co-chair. “More than 500 individuals have contributed to the campaign, and we received nearly $125,000 last week alone. As a result, we are within $100,000 of our goal.”

According to Whitney Hatch, acting Connecticut director of the Trust for Public Land, “Since launching this project last January, we have been continually impressed by the dedication of the campaign committee and the depth of community support. As we move forward with the purchase, we have complete confidence that the remaining funds will be raised over the next few weeks.”

To date, $2.65 million has been raised privately for the permanent protection of Mather Meadows. In addition, $1.05 million in state and municipal funding has been committed to the project. Last April, the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection committed $950,000 through its Open Space and Watershed Land Acquisition Grant Program to help with the purchase and in May, the Town of Darien committed $100,000.

Mather Meadows is made up of two parcels located near the border of Darien, New Canaan, and Norwalk. The roughly 6-acre West parcel and 3-acre East parcel face each other across Brookside Road. The Land Trust of Darien plans to take title to the West parcel this spring and the East parcel the following fall.

The property borders Darien’s only National Historic Landmark, the Mather Homestead, which was built in 1778 by Deacon Joseph Mather. Stephen Mather (grandson of Deacon Joseph Mather) was the founder of the National Park Service and helped to double the number of National Parks during his tenure as Assistant Secretary of the Interior from 1915 to 1929.

Owned by the McPherson family, the scenic meadows are one of the community’s defining landscapes. The property is located between two other parcels of conservation land owned by the Land Trust of Darien. This half-mile long greenway will provide both habitat for wildlife and scenic views from the road.

The primary goal of The Land Trust of Darien, Inc. is to preserve and protect open space in Darien. Preservation of open space benefits our community by adding to quality-of-life values for the residents of our town, including the preservation of its rural character.

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 3,000 acres in Connecticut.