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Lease Termination News Is Disheartening



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To the Editor:

The Newtown Bee’s recent article about the lease termination of the local UConn Extension home in Bethel is disheartening.

The value of this 11 acres of mostly open land cannot be overestimated. This year we have all become acutely aware of the devastating consequences of climate change and hopefully we are more attuned to preserving open space habitats. Every open space parcel is unique and contributes to the overall health of the ecosystems we occupy.

The motivations and reasoning behind the 2017 transfer of this parcel from the Fairfield County Agriculture Extension Council to Stony Hill Preserve should be considered as suspect. Why did this transfer occur? Are there restrictions to future property development? What are the future intentions of Stony Hill Preserve for use of this property?

This sudden termination of the Fairfield Extension’s office lease after so many years of providing services to the local community is unacceptable.

The unique role filled by Fairfield Cooperative Extension in providing multiple forms of educational services as well as food to the community is unique and cannot be matched. The value provided by the programs offered there are invaluable. Extension personnel are very knowledgeable and always willing to provide help to anyone contacting them. Furthermore, the Extension office enlists the support of many volunteers in the area to support their efforts.

As stated earlier, every open space parcel is important to preserve. We see this in the increased numbers of conservation districts, nature preserves, and land trusts being established. Important pollinator pathways are being constructed using parcels of land along corridors in our area and throughout the US.

Combining the importance of this land parcel as open space with the numerous educational opportunities offered by the Fairfield Extension office at this location makes this combination an invaluable local asset which cannot be replaced.

If the lease termination occurs, this will be a sad end to a historically important community service.

Elizabeth Hendrick

New Milford

Comments are open. Be civil.

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