News Release


For More Information:

William R. Steinhaus
Dutchess County Executive
(845) 486-2000

For Immediate Release

September 15, 1999


Steinhaus Convenes Open Space/Agricultural Protection Fund Committee


Poughkeepsie, NY - The second meeting of the Open Space/Agricultural Protection Fund Committee assembled by County Executive William R. Steinhaus met today to make recommendations on how a protection fund can be established, managed and continued into the future. The committee is the result of the County Executive's 1999 State of the County initiative to create an Open Space/Farmland Preservation Matching Grant Fund with an initial County bonding commitment of $1 million.

"It is time at the county level to investigate the establishment of an agricultural land and open space protection fund, through our capital budget, that would be used to match federal, state and private resources in a landmark protection program," Steinhaus stated. "While focusing on agriculture, the funds should also be available to preserve critically important open space. Rural scenery that attracts new residents and tourists also protects and increases property values of land that is developed."

While there are many strategies for protecting land resources at a municipal level, the Dutchess County Open Space Conservation Fund will be dedicated to either purchasing land and/or purchasing development rights,. for priority resources in partnership with project sponsors and funding organizations. Properties will be considered on the basis of applications from municipalities or landowners.

"The committee will continue meeting in the coming weeks to determine how a continuing protection

process can be established," Steinhaus said. "Once the committee has agreed upon its recommendations in the coming weeks we will submit them to the legislature for consideration.", The committee's responsibilities include establishing criteria for awarding funds for farmland and open space protection, developing applications, procedures and timelines for property owners and municipalities, developing an outreach system to solicit applications and recommending a process to screen applications and make awards.

"This is an ambitious and bold initiative, but I believe this is the type of visionary policy that Dutchess residents have been asking for," Steinhaus commented. "We are the first county in New York State to design such a protection program and it will establish Dutchess as a leader in open space and farmland protection."


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