The death of Ruth Henderson in February marked the closing of a charitable trust that had been established in 2003 when 84 acres at Hunt Hill Farm was protected as New Milford open space.

The trust had provided a stipend to Henderson and her husband, New York Pops director Skitch Henderson, in their final years.

The $225,000 balance was turned over June 23 to the town.

That agreement had been reached in 2003 when the town contributed $250,000 toward the public-private partnership between the Hendersons, Weantinoge Heritage Land Trust and the Trust for Public Land to preserve the 84 acres along Upland Road as open space.

Art Weinshank, the Hunt Hill Farm Trust executive, presented the check to Mayor Pat Murphy.

The trust's request is the town take a portion of the $225,000 and use it to maintain the trails on the property, but the mayor said that request would not directly be possible.

"The money will be put back into the Land Acquisition Reserve Fund from which it was appropriated (in 2003)," said Mayor Pat Murphy. "I will approach the Youth Agency about maintaining the trails on the property. Perhaps Eagle Scouts can help on a volunteer basis."

In 2003, the 10 buildings on the farm became a holding of the of the Hunt Hill Farm Trust, Inc., a nonprofit formed by the Hendersons in association with Smithsonian's affiliation program.

Skitch Henderson died in 2005, but Ruth Henderson continued to push for the preservation of the entire 132-acre farm.

A second 44-acre parcel of the Hunt Hill Farm land was preserved in 2008, by a coalition of partners including Weantinoge, the town and state and federal agencies.

stuz@newstimes.com; 860-355-7322