Residents may now visit a new Shelton Land Trust open space parcel on the Shelton-Trumbull border.
The 3.4-acre Bushinsky Arboretum, identified by a newly installed sign, is open to the public for nature walks during daylight hours. Most of the property is in Shelton, but some is in Trumbull.
The land was donated through the will of Edward Bushinsky, who died in 2007, and contains various flowers, plants and shrubs as well as two small ponds, stone walls and a wooded area.
“Mr. Bushinsky was an avid gardener,” Joe Welsh, Shelton Land Trust president, said at a recent dedication ceremony. “He truly loved everything to do with plants and the outdoors. This was his paradise.”
Bushinsky was predeceased by his wife, Charlotte Corcoran Bushinsky. They had no children, and left their estate to the Shelton Land Trust, Valley Boys & Girls Club, and a Shelton High School scholarship fund.
Their idea was for their house to become a headquarters for the land trust, but that wasn’t considered feasible because of the home’s condition, maintenance costs and other issues. The house has since been torn down.
The land is off Shelton Road (which becomes Bridgeport Avenue) near the intersection with Huntington Street/Huntington Road. It is at one of the main entrances to Shelton, close to the Route 8 interchange (Exit 11).
A small parking area will be created off Shelton Road for visitors, and new landscaping added.
“The community will benefit from this new pocket park with two ponds, several plant species, and a nature trail to help mark one of the key entranceways to our wonderful city,” Welsh said.
‘A serene place’
The dedication ceremony attracted land trust members, other outdoor enthusiasts, and neighbors.
Sue Schmitendorg of Shelton walked on the newly created loop trail with her husband, Tom, during the dedication ceremony. “It will be nice to have a serene place to visit,” she said. “We can come with our children.”
Welsh said neighbors can remember skating on the ponds in winter and watching Edward Bushinsky frequently work in his garden.
“Being a gardener myself, I am sure Mr. Bushinsky would be very happy with the outcome of the property,” Welsh said.
Buffer plantings will be added to screen nearby properties, where desirable. “We have great neighbors,” he said.
Welsh said the Bushinsky Arboretum will differ somewhat from other land trust properties in how it is managed. Master gardeners and the Yale School of Forestry will be consulted on making some upgrades to the property, he said.
Invasive species will be removed and native and ornamental plantings added.
The three entities named in the Bushinsky legacy worked together for five years to reach an innovative agreement on what to do with the estate.
They worked through the Shelton Probate Court, in conjunction with the state attorney general’s office, to modify the estate’s provisions within the spirit of the Bushinskys’ desires.
The land trust agreed to forgo its share of the estate in favor of the Boys & Girls Club and Shelton High scholarship fund, and in return the estate took down the house and allowed the parcel to become an open space pocket park.
The nonprofit Shelton Land Trust manages more than 365 acres on 30 parcels throughout the city.