WILTON — An anonymous couple has stepped forward to offer a $30,000 gift to purchase land and help build a parking area behind Bass Park.

The Board of Selectmen unanimously voted Tuesday to receive the gift with thanks to the couple.

After reading in the papers that the project might be put off till next year while grants were pursued, the couple went to Recreation Director Frank Donald and offered the gift, Donald told the board.

The couple was at Bass Park this summer and enjoyed watching the children play, Donald said. The older couple doesn’t have children.

“They want to give back to the town with time enough to see the good of it,” Donald said Wednesday. “Their payback is seeing people enjoy it.”

This generous gift would be special if the donors were acknowledged, but the fact they want to remain anonymous makes it even more so, he said.

The funds will be used to purchase approximately three acres behind the park. The public park is across the road from the public swimming area of Wilson Lake.

A small piece of the land will be cleared to provide parking for 10 to 12 cars. A buffer of trees will be left between the park and parking area and on the side bordering Route 2, Donald said. Access to the parking will be from Gilbert Street, a short street between Lake Road and Route 2 that is next to the park.

Eventually, a short walking trail is planned on the rest of the land.

Even with the donation, which helps with land costs, closing costs and starting the parking lot, “we’re probably two to four thousand (dollars) short of what’s needed to finish the parking lot,” Donald said. “We’re hoping a few other folks might be willing to help.”

The lot is a safety factor for playground children crossing the drive in Bass Park, he said, as there’s no real parking there. Drivers park along the short tarred area or on the grass.

Initially, Foothills Land Conservancy started the process of acquiring the land and fronted the funds to hold the property from being sold for development, he said. The intent was the land would eventually come to the town, he added.

A plan developed to create the parking lot and trail but it didn’t look as though grant requirements, including public hearings, could be done in time. 

“We weren’t quick enough for this year’s round of funding and thought we’d have to put the project on hold,” Donald said.

If the sale of the property moves quickly and the weather holds, highway foreman John Welch may be able to get a crew in to clear smaller trees and brush, make an access point with a culvert and maybe a little more, Donald said. An intended road project on High Street will provide fill for the lot.

“There’s a few people who want to see the town improved,” Donald said of the donation.

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