Avalonia’s most recent acquisition is not the biggest, but it turns out to be a big win for Connecticut, the town of Ledyard, and to Avalonia’s Barrett Preserve. The property is at 77 Christy Hill Rd in Ledyard and even though it is just a half an acre, it has been a town and state problem for over a decade.
There was a spill on the property in 2007, where Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) had to step in with a thorough clean-up costing over $40,000. In 2010, DEEP placed a lien on the property to recover the cost and in 2015, the town foreclosed on the property for non-payment of more than $40,000 in taxes. But that $43K DEEP lien came along as part of the package, so between the lien and back taxes, a buyer would need to spend over $80,000 to acquire just a half acre. The parcel happened to be adjacent to Avalonia Land Conservancy’s Barrett Preserve, so representatives from the state, town, and Avalonia, put their heads together to come up with a solution.
Fast forward five years and the town and state came to an agreement to waive the lien and taxes and deeded the land to the Avalonia Land Conservancy as a parking area and trail head to the conservancy’s 72-acre Barrett Preserve. The Barrett’s current access at 904 Long Cove Road opposite Mount Vernon Drive is very restricted. Barrett has approximately 1.2 miles of trails an open field, mature upland forest with laurel stands, towering tulip trees, rock ledges and intermittent streams. A portion was burned in a forest fire in 1989. Hikers use the preserve, but parking is currently limited to one or two cars.
The new Christy Hill Rd. property has concrete pads for two mobile homes and plenty of space for cars to park. Once the property is cleaned up, a new trailhead will be constructed, and signs posted. Avalonia is grateful to the Town of Ledyard and DEEP enhancing the community’s access to one of the area’s special places.
Photo: The new acquisition has become overgrown and collected litter, but Avalonia will convert the existing concrete pads into additional parking and access to their 72-acre Barrett Preserve.