Letter: Conservation commissioners have expertise to guide passive parks

To the editor,

A recent article, “Mayor envisions solar panels on former landfill” (12/29/2017), in the Citizen’s News displays why full authority for municipal passive open space and passive parks, like the Gunntown Nature Preserve, must be in the hands of our Conservation Commission.

Mayor N. Warren “Pete” Hess’ administration is proposing that solar panels be placed on the Laurel Park superfund site atop Hunter’s Mountain. The Gunntown Group endorses this proposal. This action would benefit Naugatuck taxpayers, reduce dirty fossil fuel use, and would be another local contribution, along with passive open space, to mitigating climate change.

A very important historical framework was left out of this article. It was the Pollution Extermination Group (PEG) and its leader, Mary Lou Sharon, who fought for decades to end the nightmare of a toxic landfill located atop Hunter’s Mountain.

It was PEG and Mary Lou Sharon, pioneer of the environmental movement in Naugatuck, that led to clean water for citizens impacted and to the landfill being declared a superfund site. Mary Lou is now, fortunately for Naugatuck, a conservation commissioner.

Mary Lou Sharon, Melissa Leonard and others on the Naugatuck Conservation Commission have the expertise to guide work at our passive parks and the Gunntown Nature Preserve. They are the epitome of citizen scientists. Let our Board of Mayor and Burgesses know that full authority must reside with these experienced commissioners.

Len Yannielli

Naugatuck

The writer is the community outreach director for The Gunntown Group.