The town of New Canaan received a major gift of open space when the Grace Farms Foundation acquired Windsome Farms in 2008 and choose to develop less than 5 percent of the now 80-acre parcel.
A 2003 Open Space Committee commissioned by then-First Selectman Judy Neville and led by Selectman Paul Giusti had identified these rolling hills as a “top” candidate for town purchase along with the Irwin Estate. The town subsequently acquired Irwin for a total of $19 million, and today hundreds of town citizens and youth enjoy Irwin Park daily.
Not only did our town not have to acquire the Windsome Farms parcel at a taxpayer cost in excess of $20 million, we avoided the projected park maintenance costs as well. Today, nature is one of five Grace Farms’ initiatives. With a full-time nature initiatives director leading educational and exploratory efforts, the foundation has developed a wide range of passive recreation programs for our citizens and youth. Equally important, Grace Farms has protected wildlife habitat on nearly 77 acres which will be retained in perpetuity as open meadows, woods, wetlands and ponds. And The River building itself is an architectural celebration of the topography and natural beauty of New Canaan.
As a town citizen and open space advocate, I believe we have been blessed with this gift of open space and natural beauty that can be shared with our children today and generations to come. I sincerely hope the near neighbors whose concerns may eventually be addressed consider these greater benefits of Grace Farms.
Chris Schipper, Sleepy Hollow Road