Mystic, CT (May 5, 2014) — The Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center has hired two firms and a project manager to oversee the transformation of its Coogan Farm property into a heritage and nature center, and has set Sept. 4, 2014 for the start of a grand opening celebration.
“We are forging ahead with the restoration of Coogan Farm,” said DPNC Executive Director Maggie Jones. “Now that spring is finally here we are excited to have these talented architects and designers on board to begin to turn the vision for Coogan into a reality. We are looking forward to expanding the benefits of the Nature Center into Mystic and the region. ”
Phil Biondo has been hired as the project manager, overseeing all of the work at the 45-acre property. The architectural firm of Lindsay Liebig Roche has been hired to design renovations of the Coogan Farmhouse and the white barn (also called the Butcher Shop). LLR has long and deep roots in the region, having been in business for more than 100 years, as well as having extensive experience working with nonprofit organizations and restoring buildings on the National Register of Historic Places.
Kent + Frost landscape architects of Mystic have been hired to plan the trails and other outdoor recreation areas of the property. They have done numerous outdoor civic projects, ranging from the Groton Town bicycle and pedestrian trail master plan to the Ocean Beach Park interpretative trail to the Hygienic Art Park and Mystic Seaport Museum’s campus master plan.
The Coogan master plan being designed by Kent+Frost will include the construction of the Hamm Outdoor Classroom Pavilion and a Greenmanville Trail to honor the history of Coogan Farm in the mid-1800s sustaining the Greenman brothers’ shipbuilders at the site of today’s Mystic Seaport.
In addition, Kent+Frost principal Chad Frost has loaned his five heritage Berkshire pigs to clear the land designated for the Giving Garden, a project that is underway and that will provide fresh produce to the United Way of Southeastern Connecticut’s food banks.
The weekend of Sept. 5, 2014, has been set to hold the official grand opening of Coogan Farm, even though the Nature Center has been running popular programs on the property since the official acquisition in Sept. 2013, and will do so all summer (please visit www.dpnc.org/calendar for a list of programs). A volunteer committee led by DPNC Development Director Linda Thacher Visscher, and working in partnership with the Trust for Public Land, is doing the planning.
An official ribbon-cutting will be Thursday, Sept. 4, and a community-wide picnic and hoedown will be Saturday. Details will be available soon on the DPNC website (www.dpnc.org).
Some naming opportunities remain on the property for major gifts made to renovate the farmhouse, butcher shop, build trails, and create viewing platforms around the property. Anyone interested in more information can call Linda Thacher Visscher at the Nature Center, 860-536-1216.