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Cherry Grove Farm Preservation Within NFA’s Sight

Published: February 17, 2018

With a signed contract in hand, Newtown Forest Association (NFA) is closer to the purchase and preservation of approximately 30 acres of Cherry Grove Farm property, at the intersection of Palestine, Platts Hill and Beaver Dam roads.

NFA, as of February 9, would like to thank the individuals and organizations that have donated generously toward preserving Cherry Grove Farm. This effort is supported by more than 400 pledges and donations. The NFA has raised nearly $450,000, and will continue to solicit donations during the coming months in order to fund the $600,000 purchase price. NFA seeks to preserve 30 acres of a larger 45-acre farm parcel.

NFA Vice President Land Preservation Committee head Bart Smith said, “Essentially we are going to continue to raise funds. But we have a contract contingent on town approvals, and that process has begun.”

“Yes,” Mr Smith is confident the land will be preserved, as the NFA continues to reach out to donors, he said. He is “looking forward” to a May closing date.

“We don’t have any specific plans for the property. We expect to develop a trail system throughout, but we plan to keep it unchanged,” he said.

The land offers meadows, wooded groves, streams, ancient trees, and “interesting topography of wetlands,” Mr Smith said. The farm also abuts seven acres of town open space, previously landlocked, making that accessible to the public, he said.

“The NFA is happy to have been a part of this, so that the people of Newtown can enjoy this for generations to come,” Mr Smith said.

Since early December, the public has responded to the NFA’s fundraising efforts.

“When we see how many people donated, it was an exciting experience — to see how many people were touched by the farm. Everyone has a Cherry Grove story,” Mr Smith said.

He also acknowledges cooperation from current property owner and developer Greg Carnrick, who provided NFA members an opportunity to purchase the farm.

“This is exciting for residents,” Mr Carnrick said. A final hurdle will be receiving necessary approval from town departments.

“The NFA did a really good job and it’s impressive that they were able to rally that many people in a short amount of time — quite the undertaking.”

Mr Carnrick explained that of the 45 acres, almost 10 is going a private owner, leaving 30-plus acres for preservation. A private buyer is purchasing the roughly two acres that includes the farm house and barns.

A formal contract has been signed for the farm’s purchase and preservation, subject to final zoning approval, as stated in a recent NFA press release. A final closing could take place as soon as May.

“We encourage all of you who value open space and the rural character of this great town of Newtown, help us with your donations,” the release states.

Questions? Contact Bart Smith at sbsmithjr13@gmail.com.

The NFA is a tax-exempt nonprofit and donations are tax-deductible. Learn more at newtownforestassociation.org. Donation checks can also be mailed to NFA at PO Box 213, Newtown CT 06470; note Cherry Grove Farm in the memo line.

Cherry Grove barn aerialThe oft-illustrated Cherry Grove Farm barn can be seen in this aerial view of the farm situated on 45 acres in the south-central Newtown. Newtown Forest Association is about three-quarters of the way toward its goal of raising $600,000 to preserve 30 acres of the farm.

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