Northwest Park expanded by donation of land
By Kimberly Phillips
MANCHESTER — A prominent developer in the Buckland Hills area has donated 1.32 acres near Northwest Park to the town for added recreation space.
Richard Hayes Sr., who developed the former Heartland plaza on Tolland Turnpike where a BJ's Wholesale Club is now slated to locate, asked in return for the land donation that a plaque memorializing his father, Dave, be put on the property at 64 Union Place.
"Right now, it looks like it's part of the park," town Planning and Economic Development Director Mark Pellegrini said Friday.
The parcel is mostly wooded, Pellegrini said, with a hiking trail that runs to Northwest Park. It's adjacent to Union Pond, and abuts the park near the volleyball courts and Boundless Playground.
Pellegrini said there are no plans for the property, other than to use it for passive recreation, including hiking. At some point, it's possible that park benches may be located there, but because it faces a residential neighborhood on Union Place large-scale development is unlikely, he noted.
The town's acquisition of the parcel is consistent with the Plan of Conservation and Development, and has been on a priority list for the Land Acquisition Advisory Committee, he said.
Planning and Zoning Commission members, along with those on the Conservation Commission and the Park and Recreation Advisory Commission, have supported the move.
The plaque dedicated to Hayes' father will be made of natural stone, Pelligrini said. Dave Hayes lived his entire life on North Elm Street and was a noted athlete in his youth.
The Board of Directors formally accepted the donation in November.