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Keep Hold Of Open Space

Hartford's Budget Woes * Don't Sell Batterson Park To Make Up $40 Million Shortfall

Hartford Courant

February 08, 2010

At a budget workshop last week, Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez, city council members and department heads kicked around ideas to fill a projected $40 million revenue hole in next year's budget. One alternative - a perennial one - is to sell the unimproved land called Batterson Park, scores of acres located outside the city in Farmington and West Hartford.

Don't do it. Using one-shot revenues to fix serious budget problems simply puts off the underlying problem for another year - as state budget makers are finding out. When times get tough, it's tempting but imprudent to part with the family jewels.

It's also a bad idea because open space is in dwindling supply, steadily eaten up by development. As trash-strewn a chunk of land as Batterson has been at times, it's still open space.

Selling parkland in general almost never makes sense. When the state is trying to preserve open space, selling some of what we already have makes even less sense.

In the late 1980s, Hartford sold part of the Batterson lands. The proceeds went into a trust fund to take care of Hartford parks. Using all the money from the sale of more or all of Batterson Park land for the care of the remaining city parks would be the only justification for selling open space.

The park shouldn't be sold to balance the budget.

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
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