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Land donation increases Southington’s open space

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SOUTHINGTON — A resident recently donated a 4,200-square-foot lot off Belmont Avenue to the town, which town officials were happy to add to the open space roster.

Town Attorney Mark Sciota said the land is next to another town-owned parcel of about the same size. Together, they may eventually become a small park.

What the town’s Open Space and Land Acquisition Committee “would like to do is accumulate a few of those parcels… then come to a decision,” Sciota said.

The land use would be “nothing active, but something passive,” Sciota said, referencing a small “pocket park” as a potential use.

The land was officially donated at the Town Council meeting on Monday. It was given to the town by owner Nancy Grenier.

“Any piece of property that could potentially be used for a park or some kind of activity would be great,” said Bob Berkmoes, a member of the open space committee. “When the sporting season starts, it seems like every baseball field is filled and every parcel of land is filled with kids and adults to practice on.”

The town has about 550 acres of open space property, Berkmoes said, and the open space committee is looking into how it can acquire more open land. Overall, state officials hope 20 percent of the land in Connecticut can be designated as open space or parks, Berkmoes added. The committee is trying to do its part to help reach that goal.

It is also looking into how much open land the town should have and trying to establish its own percentage.

“There are so many benefits to preserving our land in this day in age,” said Dawn Miceli, a member of the open space committee and Town Council. “It can be such an economic savings for the community in terms of municipal services. Whenever something like this happens, it’s worth our while to make a big deal of it because I would love for more landowners in town perhaps to offer their land to the town as well.”

Sciota also encouraged residents to look into the possibility of donating.

“We have a lot of these nonconforming parcels that people are paying taxes on and want to assist the town,” Sciota said.

“Once a piece of property is developed, you’ll never get it back to open space,” Berkmoes said. “Whatever we can do now to maintain open space is really a plus.”

fduffany@record-journal.com



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