Letter: Vote ‘Yes’ for the South Park Sale

To the Editor:

One of the ways I volunteer in Easton is as chair of the Cemetery Committee. The committee is responsible for maintaining and preserving Easton’s town property in the cemeteries. Like South Park, the cemeteries are special places that need not just basic property maintenance (tree removal, grass cutting, grounds keeping, etc) but also special handling and preservation of sensitive locations (historic gravesites with special care cleaning, repair of fragile gravestones, etc). The committee juggles these tasks with a minimal budget. The Town of Easton, together with Parks and Recreation, does its best with the limited resources we have to manage the property. However, even with our best efforts, we are sometimes stretched beyond our capacity to keep up. Land maintenance and preservation is a demanding and costly job.

This first hand experience managing preservation efforts has convinced me beyond any doubt that our town does not have the resources needed to maintain the much larger and environmentally fragile property at South Park. If we did, we would have done it. It’s not anyone’s fault because municipalities — especially with limited resources — aren’t conservation organizations. But here’s the good news: The Aspetuck Land Trust, one of our state’s most highly regarded conservation organizations, has offered to purchase and manage the preservation of South Park. This solution both relieves Easton taxpayers of the burden of endless property management costs and guarantees that this parcel will be carefully protected for future generations.

Selling the South Park parcel to the Land Trust has long had bipartisan support from the Planning and Zoning Commission, as well as unanimous bipartisan backing from the Easton Board of Selectmen, town’s Conservation Commission, the South Park Advisory Committee, along with support from our local preservation group, Citizens for Easton. Simply put, this is an excellent solution to a problem that has lingered for years and will protect a very special piece of Easton forever.

The Aspetuck Land Trust’s proven record of preservation, integrity, skilled staff, organizational agility, and established town partnership, serve as just a few reasons why they are the perfect organization to acquire the property. No one would be a better steward of this land.

So I urge everyone who cares about conservation and good town government to vote in favor of the Aspetuck Land Trust’s purchase on May 3rd. Your support will ensure this special place gets the stewardship it deserves.

Nanette DeWester

Easton

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