Council to make Open Space a priority

By LINDSAY CAREY
STAFF WRITER

www.Southington.org

www.Southington.org

By LINDSAY CAREY
STAFF WRITER

The Town Council unanimously approved a resolution to allow the Open Space Committee to apply for an open space grant.

“The town has been successful in the past with open space grants,” said Town Attorney Mark Sciota. “We’re able to get up to 75 percent of the appraised value.”

Sciota said the grant will be used to purchase more open space in town. The open space committee already has a few properties they’re interested in acquiring.

Town Councilor and Open Space Committee Chair Stephanie Urillo said that she recently received the final draft of the open space plan as part of the Plan of Conservation Development.

“The open space plan focuses on the future goals and processes by which we consider land acquisitions and manage the stewardship of our open space holdings,” she said.

The Open Space Committee Chair said that the committee is interested in a possible referendum to fund the purchase of more open space.

“In order to be prudent fiscally, we want to make sure that there is room for this in the budget,” said Urillo.

Town Councilor John Barry shared his opinion that open space property should be “the top priority going into this budget cycle” and that another item should “be put on the back burner” at the last Town Council meeting.

“I think it’s crucial for the future of our community,” said Barry. “We see too many houses being built. We see too many farm lands gone, and I think everyone’s for open space, but we have to maybe kick it up a notch and move forward with more open space purchases.”

Outside of the financial concerns for Open Space, Urillo shared that the Open Space Committee is working on promoting the existing open spaces in town.

The Open Space Chairman said the committee is going to make a commercial in the spring to highlight all of the open spaces in Southington.

She also said that the committee is in the process of creating its own logo and brand, as well as developing a stronger website presence.

By doing this, Urillo said that they will be able to not only promote the spaces but inform people of how to gain access to each of the open spaces in town. Signs could be fitted with scannable barcodes, and the website could include information on the space and how to get to it.

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