State adds open space

Bethany gets 20-acres added to West Rock Ridge State Park

BETHANY - Additional open space here is now assured permanent protection with the recent purchase of a 20-acre wooded parcel on Brooks Road by the state of Connecticut for inclusion in the West Rock Ridge State Park.

The deed and required map recently were filed in the town clerk's office.

The property, formerly owned by William Arpine, adjoins a 9-acre parcel acquired by the state several decades ago. In each case the state exercised its right of first refusal when the land was offered for sale. Both lie on the west side of the ridge.

William Doheny, president of the West Rock Ridge Park Association, which spearheaded the park's formation in 1975, said the four-town citizen organization has been actively pursuing the state purchase for years because the property extends up slope to near the summit of the ridge.

"Development of that parcel would have been a visual mar on the ridge," he said.

First Selectman Craig Stahl of Bethany also said he was pleased to see the property added to the park. "It will help to protect the ridgeline for future generations," he said.

While the association played a key role in the state action, Doheny said, the West Rock Ridge State Park Advisory Council also recommended purchase.

Stahl said that the Bethany Conservation Commission had long listed state acquisition of the Brooks Road property as a high priority on its Open Space Plan.

"This successful addition to the park is by no means the last acquisition to the park," Doheny said, because additional open space, especially in Hamden, is needed to complete the park. It presently contains more than 1,700 acres.

The nucleus of the state park was the donation of 50 acres to New Haven in 1826 for a municipal park. "It was the first time anyone recognized this ridge belongs to all the people," Doheny said. "It's high time we completed the job."

According to the Town Clerk's office the purchase price for the parcel was $95,000.