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Tags: darien | connecticut | island | bought

Darien, Conn., Buys Island for $85 Million

Darien, Connecticut on a map

By    |   Friday, 17 March 2023 12:32 PM EDT

The town of Darien, Connecticut, paid $85 million for a 60-acre island within its borders, the New York Post reported.

For 120 years, the Great Island has been owned by the same family — descendants of William Ziegler, who made his fortune on baking powder. The family listed the island for sale in 2017 for $175 million. According to the Post, the sale to Darien is due to close in May. 

The 60-acre island has a 13,000-square-foot villa as well as an equestrian facility designed by engineer and builder Rafael Guastavino. There is also a deep-water dock "that can accommodate a 100-foot yacht," the Post noted. 

Commenting on the purchase earlier this year, Darien's first selectman, Monica McNally, said that it had been a priority of hers because of the need for more open space in Darien.

"If we can, we should save it from substantial development and hold the land forever under town ownership," she said, according to The Darien Times. 

Darien is considering different uses for the space, including youth camps, a community pool, festivals, arts centers, museums, and pickleball, croquet, and bocce courts.

Controversy has surrounded the purchase, with state legislators calling out Darien for spending so much on the island while rejecting a state-funded program geared toward increasing diversity in schools due to possible future costs. 

"The decision by the Town to purchase the Great Island property with so many unknowns — how the property will be used, how to replace the loss to the grand list, what the costs of insuring, maintaining, securing and ultimately developing the property will be, leads us to question the legitimacy of the reason given for rejecting Open Choice," state Sens. Bob Duff, Patricia Billie Miller, and Will Haskell wrote in a letter requesting a meeting with McNally, according to The Darien Times.

"The purchase of 60 acres by the town certainly ameliorates this situation, creating an opportunity for Darien to invest in affordable housing stock to meet its legal obligation," the senators said. "We would like to discuss this opportunity with you and ways in which we can assist in this effort."

Zoe Papadakis

Zoe Papadakis is a Newsmax writer based in South Africa with two decades of experience specializing in media and entertainment. She has been in the news industry as a reporter, writer and editor for newspapers, magazine and websites.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

The small town of Darien, Connecticut, paid $85 million for a 60-acre island located in the town, the New York Post reported.
darien, connecticut, island, bought
Friday, 17 March 2023 12:32 PM
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