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Town looks to buy Hecker parcel

Darien-Hecker

A small parcel of land near Spring Grove Cemetery may soon become a shortcut for Darien Town Hall visitors to walk to Darien Library.

The 1.245-acre property off Hecker Avenue owned by the Spring Grove Cemetery may be sold to the town soon after the Board of Selectmen voted Monday to have the Planning & Zoning Commission investigate whether buying the property is consistent with the town’s plan of conservation and development. The review is done before the town goes forward with any purchase.

First Selectman Jayme Stevenson said the sides agreed to terms about two weeks ago, but the deal it has to go through the formal channels before being finalized. That will include review by the Board of Finance and possibly the Representative Town Meeting.

Stevenson said she’s sought a deal for the property since taking office in November 2011, mentioning that former first selectman Evonne Klein had also looked into purchasing the cemetery property as part of the town’s flood mitigation plan.

Stevenson declined to say how much the property would cost the town — saying the price would become public when details became more finalized.

Stevenson added she thought the parcel could be used to connect Town Hall and the Mather Community Center to Hecker Avenue, where the Darien Police Department, Darien Library and several businesses are.

A walking path could be included and much like Selleck’s Woods, managed by the Darien Land Trust. Stevenson said she would like to do “what’s minimally invasive” with the Hecker Avenue property and maintain an open space nature. She said she imagined some of the work can be done in part by Eagle Scouts.

Gordon Satterley, director of the Spring Grove Cemetery Association, said the land has been up for sale for several years and cannot be used for gravesites, so it makes sense to sell it.

“It’s just been sitting there since the cemetery was (opened) in 1888,” Satterley said, though noting that the cemetery association had talked with developers about the property.

Planning & Zoning Department Director Jeremy Ginsberg said the possible purchase could go before P&Z by July 30. The commission also meets on Sept. 10 and Sept. 17. Stevenson hopes the process can be finished by September.

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