Westbrook (CT) Approves Open Space Purchase

Westbrook,CT: At a packed Town Meeting at the Westbrook High School Wednesday night, Westbrook residents approved the purchase of the 24-acre King Property as permanently protected open space. The many benefits of protecting this watershed property were discussed prior to the nearly unanimous vote.

“I commend the residents of Westbrook for protecting this important watershed property that will also provide public access to the adjacent town-owned property,” said Alicia Betty, field representative for TPL, which negotiated an agreement to purchase the property on behalf of the Town last month. “It was apparent Wednesday night, from the great turnout at Town Meeting, that Westbrook residents are strongly in favor of leaving an open space legacy for future generations.” TPL plans to transfer the land to the town by the end of February.

Located on Horse Hill Road (Route 145), the King property has been identified as a priority open space acquisition by the Westbrook Conservation Commission because it 1) lies in an important water resource zone that recharges groundwater for active drinking water wells in Westbrook, 2) includes frontage on both sides of Plain Brook, an important tributary of the Menunketesuck River, and 3) lies adjacent to town-owned land and is part of a larger emerging conservation area known as Horse Hill Woods, a proposed 4.5-mile network of protected open space.

Many people in the community participated in the campaign to educate the residents of Westbrook about the King property, including Random Acts of Kindness, a group of approximately 30 8th graders who have decided to give back to their community by assisting on important local projects. They were instrumental in distributing flyers about the King Property to town residents.

Tom O’Dell, chairman of the Conservation Commission, remarked, “This success was a true team effort. We had the unanimous support of the Board of Selectman, Board of Finance, and Planning Commission. In addition, both our Town Planner and the Connecticut River Estuary Regional Planning Agency leant their invaluable assistance to the project. The preservation of the King property could not have been achieved without the help of many volunteers and organizations, including the Westbrook Land Conservation Trust, Westbrook Garden Club, Lower Connecticut Valley Horseman’s Association, and especially the Trust for Public Land.”

The Trust for Public Land is a national conservation organization dedicated to protecting land for people to enjoy as parks and open space. Since 1972, TPL has protected more than 1.2 million acres nationwide, including nearly 60,000 acres in New England. The Wall Street Journal’s Smart Money Magazine recently named TPL the nation’s most efficient large conservation charity, based on the percentage of funds dedicated to programs. For more information, contact TPL’s New Haven office at (203) 777-7367 or visit www.tpl.org.