STRATFORD - Hundreds of residents had their final chance to weigh in on the fate of Long Beach West at a public meeting Thursday.

Town conservation groups joined Stratford Mayor James Miron in urging people to support the sale of Long Beach West, which serves as an important wildlife refuge for birds and other marine life.

The mayor wants the U.S Fish and Wildlife service to take control of the area and pay the town $10 million. Miron says the sale would rid the beach of dilapidated cottages, preserve the property and keep its environment undeveloped at no cost to tax payers.

Miron says while the most of major details of the deal are finalized, he is willing to iron out minor differences with town residents.

Opponents of the deal want the town to maintain ownership of the beach in order to ensure that people would have access to the peninsula.

Morgan Kaolian, of Stratford, is against the sale of the beach. He says that the town?s only beach on the Long Island Sound is too valuable to give up.

?We've managed this beach for 350 years, we can manage it for another 350 years,? Kaolian says.

Kaolian adds that he and other opponents of the sale proposed to have a referendum on the issue, but the town leadership refused.

According to Miron, there have been discussions of putting the Long Beach West issue on a ballot, but in the end, it will be the town council members who decide whether the sale will go through.

The council is expected to vote on the sale in August.