State Awards $117,000 to Ansonia (CT)

Ansonia, Connecticut: Today, the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection announced a grant award of $117,000 to the City of Ansonia. The grant will be applied towards the City’s purchase of 42.5 acres, currently owned by Birmingham Utilities, Inc. and adjacent to the Ansonia Nature and Recreation Center. The award was hailed by the Trust for Public Land, a national nonprofit organization that has negotiated a contract to purchase the property for $200,000 on behalf of the City.

“Thanks to this grant, the City of Ansonia will be able to preserve the last parcel available for expansion of the Nature Center at a cost of only $83,000,” explained Whitney Hatch, New England regional director and vice president of the Trust for Public Land. “Since it was launched in 1998, the state’s Open Space and Watershed Land Acquisition Grant Program has helped dozens of communities like Ansonia protect important undeveloped lands. We commend both Governor Rowland and the Connecticut Legislature for creating this important grant program.”

“We also want to thank Birmingham Utilities for offering the property to the City for $200,000 a significant bargain when compared to the property’s appraised Fair Market Value of $225,000,” added Hatch.

The protection of the 42.5-acre property in Ansonia completes the first phase of a two-phase project. The second phase of the project includes the protection of 570 acres along the Quillinan Reservoir by the Department of Environmental Protection. In all, the project will preserve a total of 613 acres of open space in Ansonia and Seymour.

“We are pleased with the announcement of the grant award and are thankful that the Review Board understood the importance of this open space project to the residents of the City of Ansonia and surrounding area. It will be a great place for all people to enjoy the out-of-doors,” stated Mayor Jim Della Volpe.

According to Alderman Joseph Cassetti, Chairman of the Board of Aldermen’s Committee for Land Trust and an outspoken advocate for the project, “This property is truly a gem for Ansonia residents to enjoy. The grant will significantly lower the cost of the project for the City. It is a great help to us, as we are about to embark on the budget process.”

Donna Lindgren, director of the Ansonia Nature and Recreation Center, remarked, “This addition will provide a tremendous benefit to all Nature Center users, by expanding our trail system as well as our opportunities for hands-on environmental classes. A group of volunteers has been working very hard to ensure that the City purchases this property and makes a contribution toward the State’s acquisition of the larger parcel. Thank you to all who helped.”

The 42.5-acre addition to the Nature Center is predominately wooded and includes 10 acres of wetlands. Because of the property’s pristine condition, it has been designated as a part of the Smithsonian Institution’s international biodiversity study. Plans for use of the property include an expansion of the Nature Center’s environmental education and family programs.

The Trust for Public Land was founded in 1972 to protect land for people to enjoy as parks and open space. Nationwide, the Trust has protected more than 1 million acres, including more than 1,400 hundred acres of woodlands, farms, parks, historic landmarks, and wildlife habitat in Connecticut.