Last night was a busy night at City Hall, which explains the filled parking lot. The Norwalk Land Trust held its annual meeting and received thanks and support from Mayor Moccia and State Senator Bob Duff. The Hour reports:
“The expression goes: You can build things and you can knock things down, but you can’t create land. Open space is so important,” Moccia said before adding jokingly: “When you’re done fundraising for the Hart Property (Farm Creek), I found another piece of land we have to work on. I won’t mention where it is yet.”
It was a night to reflect on recent accomplishments such as preserving 16.2 acres at Farm Creek and 5.5 acres at the White Barn Theatre.
“We have 16 acres of shorefront property on Farm Creek. It’s just a miracle,” Marny Smith, president of the Land Trust, said. “We have some challenges that have been making us put our shoulder to the wheel more than ever.”
Duff, an advisory board member of the Land Trust to whom Smith referred as “one of our staunchest supporters,” appreciates the formidable challenges the Land Trust faces. He pointed out that Norwalk is 98 percent developed and preserving the other two acres is not an easy, or inexpensive, task.
“We’ve seen over time how working together we can do so much,” Duff said. “It takes the loud voice of our citizens to stand up and say we want to save the open space in Norwalk. We need to work together to save this. If land is developed, it’s gone forever.”
The Norwalk Land Trust has 25 properties comprising 83 acres, 67 of which it owns and 16 of which are conservation easements. With a successful year behind it, Smith could not elaborate on what the Land Trust has in store for next year, but she promised: “We have a couple things that are quite exciting.”
Preserving the land is only half the battle, Smith said. Maintaining it and acting as the land’s steward follows the acquisition. Some of the challenges in maintaining open space, Smith pointed out, include: controlling invasive species such as oriental bittersweet, removing oil tanks and asbestos from existing houses on the properties, removing fallen trees, and dealing with the issue of deer overpopulation. The price tag associated with Farm Creek ($4 million for parcel obtained in March) also put the Land Trust in another financial category and the organization faced its first audit, which cost $4,000.
“These are things that come up that you don’t expect when you think of these bucolic open spaces,” Smith said, adding she is grateful for the pro bono work and donations the Land Trust receives. “These things just happen and they amaze me. It’s simply amazing to me how many people care.”
source: The Hour, Land trust gets official thanks from mayor, lawmaker, By CHRIS BOSAK, October 28, 2008