Dear Tax Paying Residents of Tolland:
You may have noticed a story in Tolland Patch, some green signs up around town, or, most recently, a notice on the “Reader’s Page” in the Journal Inquirer stating that the preservation of the farmland at Campbell’s Peaceful Valley Farm is in jeopardy. As children of Clarence and Beatrice Campbell, we would like to share some facts with all of you who are residents of the Town of Tolland. Please keep in mind our statements are based on knowing our parents intentions well since we were involved in the discussions at the time of their selling their land to Tolland and from working on the farm alongside our father for most of our lives.
Our parents wanted the 13+ acre section of farmland as well as the 70+/- acres of open space to be used for all to enjoy in perpetuity. Each and every one of you has a right to use both parcels of land, be it the 13 acres which was purchased with your tax dollars for “municipal/recreational use” as the sale agreement states or the open space parcel. Their desire was to share the beautiful scenery, views, and trails with everyone.
At the July 24th Town Council meeting, the Council members tabled a resolution to transfer the lifetime farming use from our mother to another person because they had your best interests in mind. They could not, in good judgment, make a decision on a resolution which did not present all the documentation associated with it. For example, after reviewing documents, the Council members learned that the initial purchase agreement between our parents and the Town of Tolland clearly stated the lifetime ‘lease to farm’ could not be “sold, sublet, or otherwise transferred”. Our parents had lifetime use of the 13 acres with the barn because, at the time of the sale, our father still had cattle and was raising corn for feed.
Our father stopped farming years prior to his passing in 2009. Since our mother, Beatrice Campbell, no longer wished to farm, she sold the farming equipment and asked her daughter Debra to remove the remaining animals to prepare the property for Town use.
Conserving Tolland is proposing the Town allow one person to hold the ‘lease to farm’ for this land. We question how this honors the intent of our parents who believed the land should be used to best serve all the residents of Tolland, not just a limited few. Presently, there are ‘keep out/private property’ signs on this farmland which is not private. It belongs to you, the people of Tolland. You are not allowed to go on this property although it belongs to the Town. Is this truly the best use of town land? It is NOT how our parents envisioned it being used.
We would like to propose that the residents of Tolland put forth ideas to the Council where all town residents may benefit from the use of this land. One Tolland resident has suggested a Tolland Community Garden where people can grow their own food, teach their children about gardening, and share with other residents what a ‘community’ truly is. . . working together for a mutually agreed upon cause.
This property was designated by our parents for the use and enjoyment of all Tolland residents. Let’s keep it that way.
Barbara Campbell Gracie, David Campbell, Debra Campbell
Children of Clarence and Beatrice Campbell