Property

Officers plan passive recreation after years of inaction on Darrow Pond property

East Lyme ― Greater than 10 years after the city bought the 301-acre Darrow Pond property for open area, the Board of Selectmen on Wednesday signaled its willingness to cede management of roughly a 3rd of the acreage to the Parks and Recreation Fee.

The fee is hoping to maneuver ahead with a $22,000 grasp plan that may use survey responses from residents to assist determine what sort of facilities the brand new park may include, how it is going to be laid out and the way a lot the venture will value. The grasp plan shall be funded by the city’s $5.46 million allocation of federal pandemic-relief support.

Newly employed Parks and Recreation Division director Jerry Lokken instructed The Day on Thursday that the survey circulated final 12 months garnered a number of hundred responses. Probably the most requested facilities have been a strolling and biking trails, a canoe launch and a disc golf course.

Selectmen voted unanimously to have the city legal professional draft a decision inserting the 100 acres “below the management of the Parks and Recreation Fee.” They recommended the decision ought to particularly define the property boundaries and embody a provision requiring selectmen and the Police Fee, which is the city’s site visitors authority, to endorse any remaining plan for the 100 acres.

First Selectman Kevin Seery mentioned the slender, winding nature of Mostowy Street, which ends up in the property, must be considered within the grasp plan.

The location is already residence to the southernmost trailhead of the Richard H. Goodwin Path, which begins with a small car parking zone off Mostowy Street and continues into East Haddam. A 2013 environmental overview reported the 300 acres comprise fields, hardwood forests, wetlands and vernal swimming pools, along with the pond.

Parks and Recreation Commissioner Pat Larkin mentioned members need official authority over the acreage earlier than they signal a contract for the creation of a grasp plan.

Larkin mentioned the fee members determined it was not prudent for them to speculate the city’s cash in a grasp plan until that they had management of the land.

The city bought the property for $4.1 million in 2011 with the assistance of the nationwide nonprofit Belief for Public Land, which paid for all of the environmental and authorized work related to the acquisition. The opposite 200 acres not being transferred to the Parks and Recreation Fee are protected by a conservation easement.

Earlier homeowners had pitched an 18-hole golf course and a 600-unit housing growth for the property over the course of a contentious decade that noticed chapter, lawsuits, settlements and a foreclosures.

Seery, emphasizing using the location for passive recreation, mentioned topography and entry points make it impractical for extra energetic makes use of like sports activities fields.

“Personally I feel proper now it’s underutilized and underappreciated by the city,” he mentioned. “I feel there’s extra that may be executed up there.”

e.regan@theday.com

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