Salt Isl. Overlook Protected for Westbrook, CT
The Trust for Public Land (TPL), a national non-profit conservation organization, announced it has conveyed seven acres of land, known as the Salt Island Overlook, to the Town of Westbrook for permanent conservation.
"TPL is delighted to have helped the Town of Westbrook protect this coastal treasure before it was sold for development," stated Alicia L. Betty, Project Manager for TPL. A downtown park is planned for the newly acquired property where people can walk, bird watch and enjoy the beautiful view of Long Island Sound and Salt Island.
Purchase of the property was made possible by a grant from the federal Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program (CELCP) with matching funds from the Town's Open Space fund.
"We are grateful to our representatives in Washington, D.C. for obtaining the grant award which amounts to nearly half of the purchase price for this property," said Tony Palermo, First Selectman, "It makes this purchase a true bargain for the town. Residents and visitors will now be able to take advantage of one of the last remaining places in Westbrook with a view of Long Island Sound."
The federal funds were secured thanks to the support of U.S. Senators Christopher Dodd and Joe Lieberman and U.S. Representative Robert Simmons (R-2).
"The remarkable 7-acre Salt Island Overlook is one of the last open coastal properties we have and it deserves our protection," said Senator Dodd. "When we prioritize the care of these special habitats today, we ensure future generations can experience the same natural habitat, high water quality and recreational enjoyment tomorrow. I applaud the Trust for Public Land for their leadership on this critical environmental issue for Connecticut."
"Like so many areas surrounding the scenic and fragile Long Island Sound, the Westbrook region has experienced significant residential and commercial development that has reduced open space and degraded the quality of the waters flowing into the Sound," said Rep. Simmons. "This project will protect this critical shoreline and the Sound's vast ecological resources, while enhancing the recreational and scenic attributes of Salt Island and Long Island Sound. I am proud to be able to deliver these critical dollars to the Town of Westbrook."
The property is located adjacent to the new post office. One of the last open areas in downtown Westbrook with a view of Long Island Sound, it is also adjacent to property owned by the Westbrook Land Conservation Trust.
"By overwhelmingly supporting the acquisition of Salt Island Overlook Westbrook residents have protected a valuable resource for future generations", said Tom ODell, Chairman of the Westbrook Conservation Commission. "This ecologically important site will help protect valuable salt marsh and Long Island Sound from being degraded by development. In addition, the site supports Westbrook's goal to retain its small town character as a coastal community and provide for passive recreation including bird watching, study of coastal resources, and viewing Long Island Sound."
A 1997 Long Island Sound Study identified the tidal wetlands in this area as a priority site for their Habitat Restoration Initiative. Dave Kozak, from the State's Office of Long Island Sound Programs stated, "Coastal land acquisition for resource protection and public access is a critical need for Connecticut's future. The DEP looks forward to working with TPL to continue to identify Connecticut's best remaining opportunities to protect its most significant coastal resources and coastal resource based public access recreation areas."
The Trust for Public Land (TPL) is a national nonprofit organization conserving land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, and natural areas, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. Since its founding in 1972, TPL has helped protect more than 1.6 million acres of land in 45 states, including more than 3,000 acres in Connecticut. TPL depends on the support and generosity of individuals, foundations, and businesses to achieve our land for people mission. For more information, contact TPL's New Haven office at (203) 777-7367 or visit www.tpl.org/connecticut.