Land gift adds 3 acres of natural habitat in Milford

The city receives five parcels as a donation from the Kerin Estate.

The city receives five parcels as a donation from the Kerin Estate.

Flores, Saul

MILFORD — Milford’s inventory of open space is expanding, thanks to a donation of five land parcels to the city. The properties are located along Edgefield Ave. and Northmoor Road, adjacent to existing city-owned open space properties.

Mayor Ben Blake told the Board of Aldermen that the donation was made by local attorney Michael Kerin, the son of long-time Milford orthopedic surgeon Joseph Kerin, who died in 2014.

“This is a private donation from the estate of local Milford residents to the city.”

The five parcels, which total just under 3 acres, will add to the natural habitat for birds and other animals, according to open space and sustainability manager Jeremy Grant.

In a letter to the board, Grant said open space is an incredibly important finite resource to the city.

“Milford is home to a variety of open space areas that promote and preserve biodiversity,” he said. “These five parcels are next to nine existing city owned properties and are interconnected with paper streets.”

Paper streets appear on maps but have not been built. They generally occur when city planners lay out streets that are never built and thus the streets exist only “on paper.”

By acquiring the land, Milford will connect and preserve about 15 acres of open space from future disturbances, Grant said.

Grant said he walked the area, and described the land as primarily wetlands, with a small brook and mature trees that have been growing for decades.

“These wetlands provide a natural absorption of rainwater and help reduce flooding in the surrounding neighborhoods. Similarly, the mature trees clean our air and provide a habitat for wildlife,” he said. “A variety of maple, oak, hickory and tulip trees can be seen from the street.”

The area, Grant said, is an active ecosystem and home to numerous species of birds, reptiles and mammals.

Alderman Raymond Vitali asked if any of the parcels would require maintenance. Blake said the land is primarily wetlands and is in a natural state.

“I don’t think that anyone presently maintains that area,” he said. “That doesn’t mean that into the future there won’t be some type of maintenance requirement.”

Grant said the parcels do not abut residential areas.

“So even if a tree falls in one of them, it’s not something we will have to come in and clear,” he said. “The area is a natural inland wetland open space area and is currently untouched, preserved in its natural state, and it should be left that way.”

Since the donated land connects existing city-owned open space, it will create an enclosed area that is more easily preserved, he said.