Newtown Forest Association Opens Cherry Grove Preserve To Public
Nearly 50 residents — bundled up in coats, hats, and gloves — braced frigid temperatures and a surprise flurry of snowfall to come out and support the official public opening of Cherry Grove Preserve on November 10.
The Newtown Forest Association (NFA) hosted a special dedication ceremony and two guided hikes of the Cherry Grove Farm property on Palestine Road to kick off the celebration.
Cider, coffee, donuts, and hot chocolate were available to warm guests as they gathered by the entrance of the property, and Newtown resident Andrea Zimmermann’s book about Cherry Grove Farm’s history was sold.
NFA Vice President Bart Smith stood on a nearby rock and welcomed everyone for attending the historical day.
Nearly a year ago, he explained, the NFA met with the buyer of Cherry Grove Farm and learned that the land was in jeopardy of having 13 homes built on it.
“Soon after that, the NFA began efforts to preserve as much of this Newtown landmark as we could,” Mr Smith said. “The response was overwhelming. Many of the people I see here today were a huge part of this success.
“Over $450,000 in donations were raised, with the NFA providing the balance of the $600,000 purchase price. These funds came from over 400 different sources, including charitable foundations, individuals, civic organizations, and the Town of Newtown,” he added.
With that support, 30 acres of meadows, streams, and forestland were saved from development and are now able to be utilized as public space for recreation and wildlife habitats.
“Thanks to all of you, Cherry Grove can be enjoyed for generations to come,” Mr Smith said looking out at the crowd before him.
First Selectmen Dan Rosenthal attended the dedication ceremony and called the preservation of the land a “large victory.”
“I think what is so nice about this is the fact that we were able to do it together as a community,” he said.
Mr Rosenthal applauded the NFA for the work its members did making this preserve become a reality and for recently being awarded the Best All-Volunteer Land Trust for 2018.
As the snowfall ceased, those in attendance were invited to discover the beauty of the land on Cherry Grove Farm by joining NFA member Dan Dalton’s less-than-a-mile-long hike, NFA member Dr Aaron Coopersmith’s two-mile hike, or walk the trails independently at their leisure.
For those interested in learning more about the Cherry Grove Preserve or becoming a member of the Newtown Forest Association, visit newtownforestassociation.org.
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