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Friday, March 30, 2007

Earthplace to Take Over Partrick Wetlands

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Christopher Tymniak (r), representing Gov. M. Jodi Rell, presented a proclamation from the governor to Matthew Mandell (l) and Sean Timmins (c), Partrick Wetlands Preservation Fund directors, honoring the effort to preserve the wetlands during a ceremony in January. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WN file photo
By Jennifer Connic

The Partrick Wetlands Preservation Fund is planning to transfer its 22 acres of property along Partrick Road in northwest Westport to Earthplace, The Nature Discovery Center, and the nonprofit organization will become steward for the property.

The Planning and Zoning Commission will review the transfer during a work session on Thursday as required under a court settlement, and Earthplace will take over the property by the end of the month, said Matthew Mandell, fund co-director.

The court settlement requires that the fund donate the property to a land trust before the end of June. But Mandell said plans to transfer the property to Earthplace have been in place for some time.

The fund interviewed a number of organizations, he said, and Earthplace’s mission matched up well with what the fund’s members want to accomplish.

“(Earthplace) is a great organization,” he said. “They know how to care for the environment, and they are a good match.”

Additionally, Earthplace’s backdoor is on Partrick Road, Mandell said.

“They’re our neighbor,” he said.

Earthplace will be able to expand its program and research, including with Poplar Plains Brook, he said, and all of the fund’s members will have an introductory membership to Earthplace.

“We are honored to be offered the stewardship of the Partrick Wetlands,” said Earthplace Executive Director John Horkel in a statement, “We have followed the stories of this parcel for many years and believe the land should continue to be kept in its natural state and opened for public passive recreation and environmental study by our staff and students.”

Mandell said the hopes are the land will be transferred in time for Earthplace’s Green Energy Fair at the end of April.

The Partrick Wetlands received the 22 acres of the 55.9-acre property that lies between Partrick Road and Newtown Turnpike in January from Stratford-based ARS Partners LLC. (See WestportNow Jan. 8).

The donation of the property was part of a court settlement that also allowed ARS Partners to construct 13 luxury homes on the north side of the property.

Posted 03/30/07 at 10:12 AM

Comments

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Earthplace’s assumption of responsibilty for the Partrick wetlands is an interesting development, one that appears to promise protection of the area into the future. I would hope that transfer of the property to Earthplace will be as legally conditioned on permanent open space usage and conservation of native wildlife and flora as any land trust. 

Nina Streitfeld

Posted by Nina Streitfeld on March 30, 2007 at 06:21 PM | #
 

Nina,

The Partrick Wetlands Preservation Fund placed a conservation easement on the property the day we took possession of it.

It declares the land as permanent and undevelopable open space. This easement runs with the land regardless of the owner. The easement is controlled by the PWPF, the Westport Conservation Commission and the CT Department of Environmental Protection. It was purposefully split up to further protect the land.

This piece of land is going to remain as is in perpetuity.

As for EP they already act as a land trust, maintaining 4 other properties as open space all within Westport.

We are looking forward to their stewardship and the public’s use of this special property.

Matthew Mandell
Director PWPF

Posted by Matthew Mandell on March 30, 2007 at 10:07 PM | #
 

Once the Wetlands are transfered to Earthplace, the PWPF will be looking to close its books on this mission. 

We still need a bit a help to do so. We have been supported financially from residents from all over town and the region. We need a few more people to join the cause.

Donations to the PWPF are tax deductible and you know the money has been well spent.

visit http://www.savewestport.com to learn more.

PWPF
38 Partrick Rd
Westport, CT 06880

Thank you.

Matthew Mandell

Posted by Matthew Mandell on March 31, 2007 at 01:19 PM | #
 

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