Pave Paradise, Or Preserve And Conserve It?

Published: April 24, 2019 at 12:45 pm


To the Editor:

On Wednesday, June 6, 2001, close to 1,000 citizens gathered in the Newtown High School auditorium and voted in favor to approve bonding for the purchase of the Fairfield Hills property. The idea then was to “save Fairfield Hills for Newtown.” Many successful additions and improvements have been made to the campus since that time: the walking trail and the preservation of open space at High Meadow, the Newtown Youth Academy, the Municipal Center, the Newtown Volunteer Ambulance facility, offices for Newtown Parent Connection, the Victory Garden, the soon-to-be community center, and the Newtown Center for Support & Wellness. In the long-term sense, Fairfield Hills has been saved for Newtown, but will it be saved for our great-grandchildren?

Approximately every five years, a Fairfield Hills Master Plan Review Committee is convened to reassess the Fairfield Hills Master Plan. You can read the minutes of the meetings on the FFH Master Plan Review Committee page on the town website, newtown-ct.gov, and by following Kendra Bobowick’s coverage in The Newtown Bee, and then add to the Committee’s review by answering a survey at ffhsurvey.com.

Interest in commercial and/or mixed-use development for the campus remains. Is there a vocal majority or minority who urge preservation of the campus for open space, passive and athletic recreation, community events, and future municipal needs? Is there a vocal majority or minority who urge commercial development? These are some of the questions the members of the FHMPRC contemplate.

I found this observation in the January 25th edition of The Newtown Bee from “Way We Were” under the date, January 31, 1969:

“It does become increasingly apparent in these 20th century days of stress and strain that the general public is waking up to the values of its own physical surroundings and the need to protect them from callous destruction. In our opinion, too little has been done about it for too long, particularly on the local level, but a distinct rustling is being heard, indicating that action is about to be taken. On a state level, legislation establishing a policy for protection and improvement of Connecticut’s natural environment is proposed in a measure which has been introduced into both houses of the General Assembly. The bill proposes that the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources and the state Health Department shall establish a comprehensive environmental policy for the state, and that the policy then be submitted to the State Planning Council for review and adoption by all pertinent state agencies.”

If you value “Connecticut’s natural environment” and would prefer to preserve the Fairfield Hills Campus for recreation, walking trails, horseback riding, agriculture, wildlife, community events such as Strut-Your-Mutt, cultural arts programs, and future municipal needs, please let your voice be heard by responding to the survey at ffhsurvey.com.

Melinda Reynolds

19 Cemetery Road, Newtown         April 24, 2019


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