A legacy of love
Paul Hulton offers to donate property for a park in his father's memory
Paul Hulton, 87, wants to leave a family legacy in his hometown of New Milford.
The octogenarian has offered a 2.88-acre property to the town in hopes it would be fashioned into a park named in memory of his father, James Hulton.
"I probably decided to offer this to the town in 1970 when I bought the property and walked it with my father," Hulton said. "He said, `This is beautiful. It would make a nice park.' "
A town meeting has been set Sept. 8 at 7:15 p.m. in the E. Paul Martin Room of Town Hall for a vote on acceptance of the parcel.
When Hulton bought the property at 20-22 Grove Street, it was part of the Worthington family farm.
Seven acres at that time, the largest section of the property was along what is now Prospect Hill.
"I thought of putting up buildings there several times," Hulton said. "But Dad kept talking to me in my mind. The town and state took part of it when they put the new intersection in."
James Hulton was a trail manager for the Appalachian Trail in the Dover Plains, N.Y. and Dog Tail Corners section of the trail, as well as the Blue Trail spur that winds in and through Kent into the Gaylordsville district of New Milford.
There is a rock on the Gaylordsville section of the trail with James Hulton's name on it, near Tory's Cave.
"Originally, Mr. Hulton wanted to create access to the park from the new intersection at Grove and Bridge streets," Mayor Pat Murphy said. "But the town engineer and Parks & Recreation Department felt that would be unsafe."
The mayor has proposed the parcel be kept as an open meadow and perhaps in the future would be developed as a park, with a small parking area along Mill Street, on town property near the bridge there.
"For the time being, it would be a beautiful open meadow in our downtown, with a sign acknowledging it as James Hulton Meadow," the mayor said.
Murphy said she appreciates the generosity of Hulton, one of 10 children of the late James and Mary Hulton.
Paul Hulton was a businessman for many years in town, proprietor of Hulton Electric and an active civic volunteer, especially with the Water Witch Hose Co. firefighters.
Murphy said she has discussed with him how creating a park on the field at this time would "stretch the town's resources."
Hulton agreed to the idea of keeping the field as open space for the time being, she said.
"I realize the town will be taking some time to develop a park there," Hulton said. "But for now it will be preserved. It's a lovely meadow with a brook. It backs up onto South Main Street."