Land Trust donates $1 million to help preserve three farms

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:45

    WARWICK-The Scenic Hudson Land Trust is donating nearly $1 million to help preserve three farms in the Town of Warwick. "It is my pleasure to report that the Board of Directors of the Scenic Hudson Land Trust, Inc. has authorized our assistance in the purchase of conservation easements on the Brown, Brady, and Raynor farms," said Cari Watkins-Bates, farmland protection project manager for Scenic Hudson, in a letter to the town. "We are pleased to be able to support the Town's impressive efforts to protect its working farmland." The town is in the process of closing on those three farms. The 93.4-acre Raynor Farm should close next week and is receiving $198,475 from Scenic Hudson. Both the Brady and Brown farms, with 187.8 acres and 293.5 acres respectively, are in the process of being surveyed. Scenic Hudson is donating $428,498 for the Brady farm and $300,691 for Brown. Scenic Hudson's contribution is approximately 25 percent of the total cost of each easement. The remaining funding is coming from the town's Purchase of Development Rights program, as well as the state's Natural Resources Conservation Service for the Brady property. "It's great that they are helping us with this," said Town Supervisor Michael Sweeton. Scenic Hudson also donated funding for the preservation of the Baird Farm. A town-wide referendum in 2000 gave the town the go-ahead to purchase the development rights to properties in an effort to maintain open space. Voters approved $9.5 million of town funds to buy open space. The Greenwood Lake/Tuxedo School District, which has no farmland, is receiving 24 percent, Florida is slated for 14 percent and Warwick gets the remaining 62 percent. The town has already purchased a ball field and a 2.9 acre lakefront property in Greenwood Lake, which opened last July as a new town beach. The town's Purchase of Development Rights program so far has preserved five farms, a total of 710 acres of farmland, in the Town of Warwick. A half dozen more farms are in the process of preservation, including those receiving funds from Scenic Hudson, bringing the total acreage up to 2,200.