By Andreas Yilma Citizen’s News
NAUGATUCK — The borough of Naugatuck and town of Prospect are one step closer to owning land currently owned by the Connecticut Water Co.
Connecticut Water has completed a memorandum of agreement with Naugatuck, Prospect, the Killingworth Land Conservation Trust and the Bethany Land Trust to transfer six parcels of land that are no longer needed for water supply purposes. The land would be used as open space, according to the water company’s news release.
“Connecticut Water is pleased to continue our long-standing practice of partnering with municipalities and local land trusts to permanently preserve water company lands that are no longer needed for public water supply purposes,” stated Maureen Westbrook, president of Connecticut Water.
A 2018 agreement between Connecticut Water and Connecticut Fund for the Environment, now known as Save the Sound, states land no longer needed by water companies will first be offered to the municipalities and land holding organizations where the land is located.
Naugatuck officials previously submitted a proposal to the water company to buy three parcels, totaling about 34 acres, between the Mulberry and Candee reservoirs near Osborn Road and Wisteria Drive.
The water company appraised the three parcels of land. A 9.36-acre parcel is appraised at $28,000. A parcel that is 8.57 acres is appraised at $29,000, while the appraisal of an 16.15-acre parcel is $62,000.
Naugatuck Mayor N. Warren “Pete” Hess said borough officials negotiated this and expected the outcome.
“We’re very happy with it because it enables to acquire and conserve land which will add a very valuable and beneficial part of Naugatuck to us to expand our trail networks,” Hess said.
“We’ll be working on trials that will ultimately connect the Candee reservoir to the Mulberry reservoir with other trails in a very beautiful but underutilized part of Naugatuck.”
Funds are already in the budget and are coming from bond restructure savings after borough officials took some savings from surplus and allocated it toward the purchase according to Hess.
The plan is to build a trail network on the land as well as a 2.5-acre, all-purpose sports field next to the newly built Kevin M. DelGobbo Memorial Field, according to Hess.
Hess said borough officials plan to open the DelGobbo field later this year.
The next step is design and volunteers as well as members of the Park and Rec department would work to build the trails. Hes is hopeful to open the new trails before next summer, he added.
The Prospect Town Council previously approved at a special meeting to authorize Mayor Robert J. Chatfield to sign a memorandum of agreement on behalf of the town to purchase 15 acres from the Connecticut Water Co. in the area between Salem Road and the end of Old Log Town Road.
Chatfield said he’s very pleased about the water company finalizing the memorandums of agreement but the purchase has to go to a town meeting for approval.
The town will have until March 2024 to decide if Prospect taxpayers would like to purchase the land for an estimated $20,500. The town has three CDs for open space purchases and another CD for land purchases with a combined $500,000 total, according to Chatfield.
Chatfield said if the town does purchase the land, it would be used for open space.