Letter: Borough needs study of Gunntown property

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To the editor,

An Aug. 3 letter to the editor claimed overdevelopment in Naugatuck for the last three decades has depleted our woodlands, devalued property, and polluted air and water resources, while endangering wildlife habitat. This caused wildlife, such as deer, to run amuck in neighborhoods all across town on a daily basis disrupting our lives and jeopardizing our safety because their natural habitat is being destroyed.

The proposed solution is a conservation commission to protect passive open space while creating a safe and healthy environment for future generations.

In reality, quite the opposite has occurred.

Recent newspaper accounts reported woodlands are increasing in New England. Looking around Naugatuck shows woodlands are indeed far from being depleted. Observe the hills surrounding the Gunntown property for example.

Overdevelopment has not devalued property when property is suitably maintained. Over the last 40 years homes values in the long run increased faster than inflation despite recessions.

As regards to air pollution, because of advances in technology the Environmental Protection Agency and other strict and federal regulations, plus the demise of much manufacturing, air quality is probably the highest it has been in the last 100 years going back before World War I.

Water pollution has mirrored air pollution for the same reasons. If the Naugatuck River were really polluted the state would not spend the time and money stocking the river every year with trout and salmon, and there would not kayak races and boat launches being built.

But, a serious problem has developed from the decreased activity in the younger generation — resulting in alarming increases in obesity and the threat of diabetes. The causes are many: too much time watching TV, playing computer games, texting, Facebook, Twitter, no recess in some schools, over busing, and a lack of outdoor recreational areas.

One of the solutions is adequate facilities for young and old to participate in all kinds of exercise including sports, jogging, walking, and playground activities. For instance, the borough has been short of soccer fields for years.

A visit to the 39-acre Gunntown property, which has lain fallow since its purchase 15 years ago as the site for a new school, shows no apparent human activity in months, although parts of the area are ideal for recreation. Neither is there much evidence of animal activity such as deer paths. The vegetation is knee high.

We need a feasibility study and then a plan to make full use of this natural resource by converting Gunntown to an active open space with playing fields and opportunities for nature studies, trail walking, exploring woods, Eagle Scout projects, even small garden plots for individuals or other organizations. Possibly the study might find more practicable a 55 and older development to increase the grand list without putting a load on the Board of Education.

Richard W. Palizay

Naugatuck