Voters in Old Saybrook to decide future of nature preserve

OLD SAYBROOK, Conn. (WTNH)–Voters will head to the polls in Old Saybrook on Tuesday to decide whether or not to protect nearly 1,000 acres of land from developers.

The area is known as “The Preserve,” and it sits mostly in Old Saybrook.

The town is debating whether or not to spend $3 million to fund an effort to buy “The Preserve” and actually preserve it.

“It is the largest remaining unfragmented coastal forest between New York and Boston,” Chris Cryder of the “Save the Sound” project said.

Cryder has helped lead the effort to keep the land from being developed from projects like a golf course once proposed a few years back.

“There were many concerns about pesticides, hericides, and nematicides, which kill worms which might get into the aquifier which feeds residential wells,” Cryder said.

The Preserve, which also runs through Westbrook and Essex, has gotten state support and funding along with private donations, but the final piece needed could come from Old Saybrook.

“This effort really took years and hours, and eventually dollars, of commitment so that the land could be preserved,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal.

Many have been opposed to development because of the impact on the environment, and traffic. A big project might add big bucks to the town’s tax base.

“A development would generate taxes for the town, but in the long run, revenue minus the expenses would be a net negative effect,” Cryder said.

Polls open at noon on Tuesday.

The town of Essex will also be holding a similar vote for its section of the Preseve. That will take place on July 16.

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