As the virus began to take hold, Stu Lanz of Ellington hunkered down in his workshop and built a little free library for the Batz Property located at 97 Shenipsit Street. The finished product was installed on May 14th.
The idea came about a year or so before by the Ellington Trails Committee and in collaboration with the Decide to Be Kind Community Committee and Ellington Youth Services, it became a reality AND a family project. Judi Manfre of Ellington is a member of both committees and was the liaison to help push the project forward. Katharine Lanz, Stu’s daughter and art teacher at Ellington High School, painted the library and her son Jay and mom Rosemary assisted in various ways with the project. Kath Lanz’s artistry shows scenes depicting the essence of the Batz Property with of course bats! A play on words, however, there are indeed bat houses at Batz. The library supplies were all donated by Doug Flamino of CD Builders and Stu Lanz. Youth Services will be registering the library with the Little Free Library organization.
Decide to Be Kind and Youth Services sponsored Little Free Libraries located at each of Ellington’s elementary schools that were built and decorated several years ago by students of Ellington High School. All the little libraries in town are welcome to the community to take a book or leave a book or both! Manfre is the driving force behind all these libraries and even has one at her residence at the corner of Field Drive and Hayes Ave.
The Batz Property is 45 acres and is a mix of forest and grassland and was willed to the Town of Ellington by Emma Batz and her brother Charles for passive recreation over 20 years ago. The trail around the property is maintained by the Ellington Trails Committee. Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts have used the Batz Property a lot over the years and there are a few completed Eagle Projects there as well. A community garden is also located on the property for residents to use. Contact the Ellington Parks and Recreation department for more information.
Last August, “Grandma’s Pantry” was introduced to the community as a place to donate non-perishable food items and receive them. This large wooden “library” is outside the Human Services/Youth Services office at 31 Arbor Way and was built by Barry Lanz, Stu’s brother! The talents and skills of the Lanz family have certainly contributed greatly to the Ellington community and their services to the town are appreciated. You can learn more about Little Free Libraries by visiting the website www.littlefreelibrary.org.
By Debbie Stauffer