ESSEX — The Essex Meadows senior living community has recently contributed $200,000 to help acquire for public use a privately owned, 1,000 acre tract of open land, which is known as The Preserve. The owners of the community, Essex Meadows Properties, Inc., headed by Chairman of the board and CEO, Fred W. Weitz, donated $100,000 and the community’s residents and staff matched the owners’ contribution with another $100,000. Essex Meadows is a senior retirement community in Essex, Connecticut. The Preserve property is principally located in the Town of Old Saybrook, with seventy of its acres in Essex, and four in Westbrook.
The land for The Preserve is, reportedly, the largest parcel of vacant, “coastal forest” between New York City and Boston. A small portion of The Preserve borders Essex Meadows’ property.
The Land of the Preserve
The Preserve land consists of heavily forested land in some areas and open land in others. The property has 38 vernal pools, and 114 acres of wetlands, within its boundaries. In addition, the land serves as a “rest stop” for migratory birds, making their migratory journeys north and south.
If the present fundraising efforts to purchase the land for The Preserve are successful, 1,000 acres of open, recreational space will be saved for the use of present and future generations.
The purchase price of the land for The Preserve is $10 million. To date, the State of Connecticut has pledged $3 million, the Town of Old Saybrook by referendum has approved $3 million and the Town of Essex has approved a contribution of $200,000. The remaining monies for the purchase of the Preserve property are being raised from private and public donors by the Essex Land Trust and other organizations.