The greatest need in Naugatuck concerning land is passive open space, that is land with no impervious surfaces, no hard surfaces. Some people have mentioned the need to protect wildlife habitat. Passive open space does that.
Land in the hands of private developers has led to sprawl throughout Naugatuck and higher taxes. The deed restriction declaring passive open space at the publicly owned Gunntown property was a first step in the right direction.
The new town land purchase along Andrew Mountain Road can go in the direction of righting the environmental situation in our town by adding it as passive open space. Indeed, every neighborhood in Naugatuck should look to have passive open space either through town purchases or through the Naugatuck Land Trust (NLT).
Concerning the NLT, a conservation easement should be considered by the town in the possible purchase of the Wilmont property. This is also important for the Gunntown Passive Park & Nature Preserve as the Wilmont property is contiguous with it.
Naugatuck sorely needs a Conservation Commission to oversee public passive open space in town.
We need public officials, meaning the Mayor and town Burgesses in the first place, to say loud and clear that passive open space is the priority. Stand with the community and the community will stand with you.
Leoard Yannielli is a member of a Gunntown preservation group, and is also a member of the Naugatuck Cultural Council. He is a professor emeritus at Naugatuck Valley Community College.