In 2016, Easton Board of Selectmen indicated interest and solicited proposals to sell for development this town-owned land.
CFE proposed preserving South Park in perpetuity as passive open space. Many noted organizations also recognize its significance and have voiced their support. Help us in saving the 29.6 acres of fragile habitat and pastoral beauty by emailing Citizens for Easton today.
- Before being acquired by the town of Easton, the South Park Avenue property was the object of numerous development proposals over the years including assisted living and other high density uses. Now that the property is town owned, it would be unwise to lose control of it to a developer.
- Risk of pollution and damage to Mill River, which encircles much of the property. Out of over 300 streams in Connecticut, the Mill River is one of only nine Class A Wild Trout Streams left in the state. The river is unique because it is pure and cold enough to sustain wild trout, which are sensitive to any changes. Regarding the unknown effects of development and human overuse, Tim Barry, supervising fisheries biologist for the Connecticut DEEP noted in the Easton Courier that it would be very hard to prevent a loss of the fishery.
- The property is a resource offering conservation to a unique, natural area and protection of a species considered threatened, endangered, or of special concern. Wild brook and wild brown trout are listed in the “Most Important” category of fish designated as Greatest Conservation Need in the August 2015 draft of the Connecticut DEEP 2015 Wildlife Action Plan. Cold water streams and associated riparian zones are noted as “Select Habitats” at risk. It is also home to wildlife including owls, turkeys, coyote, deer, with grasslands providing nesting areas for birds.
- The property creates a scenic gateway to Easton from the south, just past the “Welcome to Easton” sign; a pastoral landscape and prime example of Easton’s heritage.
- Light pollution would increase with development of the property as well as traffic, possible road alterations, and the need for town services and oversight.
- The existing house on the property can continue to be leased out at a fair market value, as well as another house on the property, to provide income to the town.
- Preservation will provide high-quality passive recreation and educational opportunities. It could serve as the terminus or beginning point of a trail that might link Aspetuck Land Trust properties and state forest north along the west side of the Easton Reservoir. It is an ideal environmental field study area for school groups and educational professionals. Easton schools could model a program similar to Fairfield’s award-winning Mill River Wetland’s River-Lab program, which meets state standards for science education. Students learn about the river and watershed’s contributions to wildlife habitat, groundwater replenishment, Earth’s water cycle and other topics. The instructors included high school students in Advance Placement Environmental Science classes who served as adult guides for younger students.
- The preservation of South Park would also serve as important statement to our town, our neighbors and the State of Connecticut: that Easton is on the forefront of preservation, protection of natural resources, and maintenance of natural character. In an increasingly crowded (and over-developed) future, this will serve an ever more important function for both our town and the greater region.