Pols have other agenda for 'open space'
June 05, 2000

I write in response to recent articles concerning vandalism occurring at the former reservoir property now known as "Witek Park." I have resided next to this last vestige of unspoiled land for 30 years and am saddened by the shortsighted power base that has caused this property to rapidly deteriorate.

Derby is now in possession of an intricate ecosystem containing marshes and pine forests, and in typical Derby fashion, the city has no plan to care for it.

Algae is proliferating and will soon choke the oxygen from the few fish that remain. Area young people congregate outside my residence on weekends and enter the reservoir en masse during hours when the "park" is legally closed. People from various communities located a healthy distance from Derby appear with buckets, intent on keeping every fish they catch. When I tour the property, I see broken bottles and other remnants of ignorant behavior. Park benches placed for the resident's use and enjoyment have all been smashed and I now smell the wretched odor of stagnant water.

All this leads me to question how city politicians can acquire such a large parcel of land with no management plan? When the property was a water supply, it underwent regular maintenance to control algae. Does the city reasonably believe maintenance is no longer necessary?

Unfortunately, I fear my concerns will become moot after the referendum Saturday, when the city's master plan of soccer and baseball fields becomes reality. The complete lack of interest in maintaining this land has led me to conclude that the city had no intention of preserving this property.

We were sold on the idea of open space, which many of us envisioned as unspoiled woodland. Using the city's definition, open space could as easily be construed to mean a parking lot.

Shame on all those in city government who acquired this land for their subversive purposes!

Stefania M. Cerritelli