Towns should study the feasibility of purchasing Candlewood Lake
The opportunity is too good not to consider.
After all, it is not every day that five municipalities have the chance to buy a lake.
Candlewood Lake, truly a jewel of western Connecticut, might be for sale. The owner, FirstLight Power Resources, told the Candlewood Lake Authority last week that it would consider selling the lake.
As a resource for generating electricity, the lake has not been as profitable as FirstLight had hoped.
As a resource for recreation, the lake's potential is as immense as its 5,420 acres.
Because the power-generating business is at times at odds with the recreational and environmental aspects of the lake, local control would resolve the inherent conflicting purposes.
The five municipalities bordering the lake -- New Milford, Sherman, Danbury, Brookfield and New Fairfield -- would do well to consider the offer.
New Fairfield First Selectman John Hodge said the purchase price could be around $10 million, based on FirstLight's estimates.
If that is the number, then the lake would indeed be an attractive acquisition.
Even so, much must be considered with possible ownership, such as liability and loss of tax revenue.
But with ownership comes control, and the five municipalities, along with the Candlewood Lake Authority, could make decisions and choices best for the environmental health of the lake.
For example, the water level could be dropped low enough and long enough over winters to kill the nuisance Eurasian watermilfoil weeds.
As a first step, the Housatonic Valley Council of Elected Officials authorized its executive director last week to arrange meetings with FirstLight officials to discuss a possible purchase.
Let the talks begin.
Since its creation in 1928, the largest inland body of water in the state has become a valuable recreational, economic and environmental resource for the region.
Candlewood Lake is part of the identity of western Connecticut.
Local control is well worth exploring.