Shelton seeks to cut off access to swimming hole

Photo of Brian Gioiele
The Far Mill River, seen here from Far Mill Park in Shelton on Monday.

The Far Mill River, seen here from Far Mill Park in Shelton on Monday.

Ned Gerard / Hearst Connecticut Media

SHELTON — The city is moving forward with plans to fence off access to the Far Mill River Park “swimming hole.”

Board of Aldermen President John Anglace Jr. said Mayor Mark Lauretti gave his approval for the the city to seek bids on fencing off the former Pearl Bach property in order to prevent people accessing the swimming hole from the Shelton side.

The property, located off Route 110 and Main Street in Stratford, has three access points, two of which are located on the Shelton side. One is through city-owned land — known as the Pearl Bach property — located on Manhasset Trail, the other from 865 River Road near the Far Mill River bridge adjacent to a medical office building along a path that leads to the swimming hole.

The third entrance is on the Stratford side on Pine Tree Lane. There are only two to three parking spaces and a sign indicating open space and a path that leads to the swimming hole.

Anglace said Shelton residents in that area have complained for years about the parking and debris left behind by the people visiting the area. But the biggest issue, he said, is the inability of either Shelton or Stratford to provide emergency services if needed because access to the site ranges from difficult to nearly impossible.

“This is a huge liability,” Anglace said.

Michael P. Downes, the Stratford mayor’s chief of staff, said there has been a significant uptick in the number of people going into the Far Mill River area, which has led to an enormous amount of trash, litter and debris at the site.

“As of (Monday) we have posted signage which prohibits swimming and littering and bonfires,” Downes said. “We will also have increased police patrols going forward to enforce these postings.”