Essex voters approve $200,000 toward purchase of The Preserve

Essex - About 135 voters at a town meeting Wednesday unanimously approved a $200,000 appropriation toward the purchase of The Preserve, the 1,000 acre coastal forest in Old Saybrook, Essex and Westbrook that conservation groups have been working to save from development for more than 15 years.

The approval in Essex comes eight days after voters at a referendum in Old Saybrook, where 930 acres of the forest are located, overwhelmingly approved a $3 million appropriation toward the purchase. The state has pledged $3.3 million.

The Trust For Public Land, which is working with the Connecticut Fund for the Environment and other groups, reached a deal with River Sound Development, the current owner, to buy the land for $8.03 million.

The funds from the towns and the state will be combined with federal grants and private donations to complete the purchase, expected by the end of the year.

- Judy Benson


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