NAUGATUCK — After proposing last spring that residents and businesses “adopt” parts of the borough, the Beautification Committee is working with borough attorney Edward Fitzpatrick on a legal agreement to make the plan a reality.
“I’m going to pressure to get it by February so people can sign it,” said B.J. Forlenzo, who chairs the committee and co-chairs the Blight and Beautification Council.
Under the agreement for the Adopt-A-Spot program, individuals, families, volunteer groups or businesses can sign up to care for and maintain a piece of public land. The adopted land would still be owned by the borough, but the adopter would pay to plant, clean and maintain it, Forlenzo said.
The agreement will be finalized once Fitzpatrick and the committee work out liability insurance provisions to protect the borough from lawsuits if someone is hurt while maintaining the adopted property.
The delay hasn’t bothered Forlenzo because the committee was busy with the blight ordinance that was passed in August. After cold weather set in, people were less likely to sign up for outdoor work, she said.
“We didn’t want this to all take place too quickly and then fall apart,” she said.
Committee members have not drawn up an official list of places they want adopted because they do not want participants to limit themselves to set locations, Forlenzo said.
After hearing about the program, some people have been inspired to clean up trash on the street or better maintain their private property, Forlenzo said.
“Which is exactly what we’re trying to do with Adopt-A-Spot and the Beautification Committee,” Forlenzo said. “Getting people to look at their own area and say, ‘What can I do to improve it?'”
The committee plans to adopt the Connecticut Transit bus stop across from Faltom Jewelers on Church Street. Others can adopt grassy islands in the middle of roads and overgrown areas near public buildings and parks.
Although the land in question is publicly owned, the borough has not maintained much of it due to time and financial constraints, Mayor Robert A. Mezzo said. Some of the overgrown areas are state property, he said.
The committee is also seeking donations to cover the cost of the $140 signs it will place on adopted spots. Anyone interested in adopting or donating can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.