Governor Dannel P. Malloy today applauded the final approval in the Connecticut General Assembly of a bill that will protect farmland on the property of the Southbury Training School and said that he looks forward to signing it into law once it is transmitted to his desk.
"Farmland is a precious commodity in our state and it is absolutely important that we protect what we have for future agricultural use," Governor Malloy said. "I want to thank First Selectman Ed Edelson and the Southbury legislative delegation for working with us on adopting this legislation to preserve this parcel in Southwestern Connecticut, and I look forward to continuing our cooperative work with the Town of Southbury."
Governor Malloy called the plan the first step in ensuring that both the state and the town safeguard proper use of the property.
"I am so pleased to see that both houses of the Connecticut legislature unanimously passed the Southbury Training School Farmland Preservation. This is something that many environmental leaders in our community have been seeking for so many years," Southbury First Selectman Edelson said. "Over the past two years, I have been working continuously with the Governor's office to see how we can get this legislation crafted. His leadership and commitment to farming, open space, habitat management and the Southbury Training School farmlands in particular have been clear throughout the process. Of course, it has taken the cooperation of many others, including Southbury's Representative Arthur O'Neil, who has been behind this legislative change for many years. Senator Rob Kane's support has also been critical. I only wish that Dr. Marc Taylor could be with us to see this important goal achieved. Now, it is up to all of us to make sure these premier farm lands are used to reinvigorate local farming in Southbury."
The approved legislation, House Bill 6542 -- An Act Concerning the Preservation of Farmland at the Southbury Training School, transfers the farmland at Southbury Training School from the Department of Developmental Services to the Department of Agriculture, who will preserve it for agricultural use through a conservation easement. The Department of Agriculture will own the land and will work with the Town of Southbury to lease it for agricultural use.
In April, Governor Malloy announced the creation of a special task force that will develop a comprehensive plan on the future use of the campus and how to maintain the building and grounds as it continues to be a home to residents. The group has representation from the State of Connecticut, the Town of Southbury, and from Southbury Training School.