CHESHIRE — The town will build a walking trail around the perimeter of the Chapman property on Route 10, a temporary amenity until officials decide on a permanent use for the land.
In a referendum two years ago, voters approved the purchase of the 10 acres of land, just south of Bartlem Park, for $3 million.
Town Manager Michael Milone said all the buildings, debris and contamination have been removed.
“All the remediation work has been done, it’s clean, it’s ready,” he said.
Before the referendum, town officials said the property could be used for the relocation of parking and playing fields next to the high school, alleviating traffic on Route 10. No plans have been approved for the land.
Until a decision is made, Milone said that Public Works Director George Noewatne suggested an inexpensive walking trail be cleared.
“At least people can enjoy it,” Milone said.
Building the nearly mile-long trail will require some brush clearing as well as smoothing out bumpy or rocky areas.
Milone said with the site cleaned, visitors won’t recognize it.
“It’s completely transformed,” he said.
Tim Slocum, a Republican councilor and budget committee chairman, pointed out a similar trail was created around Mixville pond.
“The success of that gave them the thought, ‘Why don’t we put in a few trails,’ ” Slocum said.
The work won’t require any special appropriation and can be handled by the departments’ operating budgets.
“It was three cheers from the council,” Slocum said.
He liked the idea since it made the Chapman property useable. Slocum said it’s hard to predict when a plan for the property will be finalized.
The property had several houses, some in poor condition, along with derelict outbuildings, rusting farm equipment and junk cars and trucks.
Last summer councilors voted unanimously to allow the demolition of the Stephen Ives farmhouse along with other buildings on the property.
As part of the sale, the Chapman family agreed to pay for remediation of the land, which included oil underneath the house. Tearing down the house was the cheapest way to clean the soil, although preservationists urged the council keep the Victorian-era home.
Former Historic District Commission chairwoman Betsy Fox resigned her position following the vote in July, calling it “short-sighted.”
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