June 9, 2005 Hartford Courant Letter in the Connecticut Section

Land Trust Could Be Ethel Walker Option

The Courant editorial (June 3) on plans by the Ethel Walker School to build a development of million-dollar homes in Simsbury made an erroneous assumption in stating that “the decision to develop this spectacular natural resource for income was…reached after studying all viable alternatives.”

Although the Ethel Walker School has rejected a 6 million dollar offer from the town of Simsbury, their spokesperson Kyle Corkum has stated, “our door is open and we are willing to listen to anyone interested in buying the land.”

One viable alternative not explored fully is to involve the Trust for Public Land (TPL). The TPL is a national non-profit organization that specializes in negotiating and financing land transactions. The TPL can draw upon a variety of funding sources in drafting a deal, thus reducing the financial burden on the town and possibly funding the transaction at a level to which the school can agree.

Simsbury’s First Selectman Tom Vincent should call upon The Trust for Public Land to engage the school in development rights negotiations. The TPL’s involvement would free the town from the logistics of a complex, multi-sourced development rights agreement. Furthermore it would result in the land being retained as an outstanding and integral part of the Ethel Walker School. Only after such efforts are made should we claim that all viable alternatives to developing this important natural resource were pursued.


Published June 9, 2005 in the Hartford Courant Connecticut section under Letters.