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Cheshire Land Trust Helps to Acquire Mill River Open Space for Town

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, August 3, 2020

Cheshire has another open space preservation success story. The town of Cheshire recently acquired 45.14 acres abutting the Mill River located at 257 Fenn Road in Cheshire from Ricci Construction Group. The property will be used for passive recreation. The Regional Water Authority (RWA) and Cheshire Land Trust (CLT) contributed to the open space acquisition, which was completed on July 17, 2020, and jointly hold a conservation easement to the property. Audubon CT managed an Army Corps of Engineers’ grant to provide a portion of the funding.

The property is an essential link to an important greenbelt corridor in Cheshire and supports goals in the region’s Mill River Watershed Plan. The Mill River bisects the property and borders the 201-acre, town-owned DeDominicis open space. Cheshire Land Trust’s Old Farms property shares a border with the DeDominicis property. CLT’s Fresh Meadows Wildlife Sanctuary and Brooke Preserve properties, on Cook Hill Road and Sperry Road, respectively, are also within the greenbelt.

“Land trusts exist to protect open space. The Cheshire Land Trust is pleased that we were able to obtain funding that, combined with dollars and cooperation from the RWA and the Town, made the purchase possible. It has ended well,” said David Schrumm, CLT Treasurer, who took the lead on the acquisition for the land trust.

Schrumm also commended developer John Ricci, former owner of the property for “taking the first critical step in contacting the Cheshire Land Trust to seek help in preserving the land.”

“The acquisition of this property for the town was particularly important to the Cheshire Land Trust. The property is stunningly beautiful and has been generally untouched for decades. It is important to note the length of the Mill River, 3,200 feet, which runs through the property. Acquiring the property for open space will help to protect the Mill River and promote efforts to improve the water quality of this impaired section of the river. We are pleased and exceedingly grateful to all of those who made the acquisition possible,” said CLT President Joy VanderLek.

Mill River along Fenn Road in new acquisition for the town

The Regional Water Authority contributed a third of the purchase cost and worked closely with the town and CLT. “Preserving open space properties safeguards the health of our communities and our waterways. The RWA owns and protects over 27,000 acres of undeveloped land. We were happy to have this opportunity to work with our partners in the town of Cheshire and the Cheshire Land Trust to help them secure this Mill River Watershed property for conservation,” said Ted Norris, Vice President of Asset Management for the Regional Water Authority.

The Cheshire Land Trust is proud to have been an integral part of the acquisition, which aligns with its mission to conserve open space and protect Cheshire's natural resources. Cheshire Land Trust, incorporated in 1969 as a 501(c)3 conservation non-profit, currently protects more than 600 acres of open space in Cheshire, which include farms, forests, meadows, wetlands and the animals and plants within.

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