15 Sep 2014
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Patch Instagram photo by sarah_elizabeth_summers

Agricultural Center to Get Land from State Open Space Program

The land is at Gunther Farm.

The Tolland County Agricultural Center is getting some additional land via a state open space grant.

State Sen. Tony Guglielmo made the announcement last week.

The land is 21.3 acres on the Gunther Farm property on Route 30 on the Tolland/Vernon line.

The property is being  being bought "to protect farmland soils," Guglielmo said.

Guglielmo said natural resources that will be protected include:

• Grassland habitat.

• The Flood plain of Gages Brook, which holds brook trout and endangered wildlife habitats. 

Guglielmo said the Connecticut Farm Land Trust will purchase the property, record a conservation easement, and sell the property to the agricultural center. 

The center will use the fields for its education and farming programs, Guglielmo said.

It is all being paid for with a $350,000 grant, Guglielmo said.

Linda Farmer, Tolland's Planning and Economic Development Director, said it is the perfect use for the Gunther Farm, land because it abuts the agricultural center and because of the flood plain.

The Open Space grant program is administered by the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. The state has a goal of protecting 673,210 acres by 2023. So far, it has preserved 496,182 acres, or 73.7 percent of the goal, Guglielmo said.

“I thank the governor and state officials for recognizing the need to protect important pieces of land from development,” Guglielmo said. “Eastern Connecticut is known for its beauty and farmland. Allowing these pieces of property to stay pristine is a gift to future generations and an obligation we should honor.”

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