Saving Wethersfield's Wilkus Farm

January 15, 2013

Last night I attended an organizational meeting of people interested in saving the Wilkus Farm in Wethersfield. A few years ago the residents of my town voted in a referendum to preserve the farm as open space. However the Town Council has recently moved towards swapping some of the land for land on Goff Road. This is in spite of the fact that there is a farmer that wants to buy the land, improve it, and use it for farming. That bid is one that I and many others in town support.

There were a few facts that stood out at this organizational meeting. First is the sheer number of people (of all political affiliations) that came together in one room to support this cause. Secondarily was that Rick, a friend of mine, noted that in the meetings leading up to this one, there were not a lot of people turning out to oppose the idea of the land swap. Meanwhile the Council pointed out they received many letters in support of a land swap. The unofficial chair of the evening, Bill Knapp, noted that he encountered people in the library that were unaware that this was an issue. It was the general consensus in town that the land had been preserved, even though that technically was not the case.

The lesson from this meeting was simple: decisions are made by people that show-up. The group agreed that it was important to have a presence at the next Town Council meeting. The hope is that the councilors will see how many people support having a farmer instead of having a developer build houses and change their position. Otherwise we will have to engage in a referendum effort if we wish to prevent the land swap.

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