Manchester Land Conservation Trust

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Preservation of Bush Hill Farm

The Manchester Land Conservation Trust announces the purchase of 62 acres of former farmland in Manchester and Glastonbury. The Trust will preserve the property in perpetuity and protect it from development. Fifty-seven of the acres, at 258 and 260 Bush Hill Road, are in the southwest corner of Manchester; five acres are at 13W Bell Street (R) in Glastonbury.

The Botti family farmed this acreage starting about 1912 – growing apples, peaches, cherries, and blueberries as well as vegetables – but the orchards are no longer productive. The Land Trust plans include restoration of the orchards, community farming, hiking trails, and passive recreation. Some of the old fruit trees still grow on the property, and there are quaint barns and a farm pond. Bush Hill itself is on this property – the highest point in the southwest section of Manchester.

The closing on the land took place Wednesday, August 19, 2015, at a purchase price of $915,000. The State of Connecticut DEEP granted $594,750 and the Town of Manchester granted $98,000, both through open-space-purchase programs. Stipulations of the State grant include razing the existing farmhouse which, with other expenses, may cost the Land Trust several hundred thousand dollars. The Conservation Fund, a non-profit environmental organization in Arlington, VA has provided a $210,000 loan as "bridge financing," and the Land Trust is undertaking a $500,000 fund-raising campaign.

Malcolm Barlow, President of the Manchester Land Conservation Trust said after the closing, "The Trust is thrilled to be able to preserve this large property, for the benefit of the public. We will work out the farming details in the near future. The Trust’s board and volunteers have worked feverishly over the past two years to secure grants, the bridge loan, and complete surveys, appraisals, and many other requirements to accomplish this purchase. Now we turn to the general public and local philanthropists for help in closing the $500,000 gap. We will need help from all sources, and we ask that all consider a donation for this effort, which will benefit current and future generations."

The public is invited to a preliminary view of the property at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, September 13. Enter at the long driveway at 260 Bush Hill Road, and park near the barn.

Help us preserve and maintain open space lands in the Greater Manchester area.