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News Release    

July 2, 2003

Poughkeepsie... Dutchess County William R. Steinhaus has signed three resolutions approving grants for the County’s Partnership for Manageable Growth Open Space and Farmland Protection Matching Grant Program. The resolutions move three projects toward closure: the acquisition of agricultural conservation easements on the Pulver Farm in Pine Plains and on the Bailey Farm in East Fishkill, and partial funding for the acquisition of Peach Hill in the Town of Poughkeepsie for use as a passive recreation park. Each resolution was approved by the Dutchess County Legislature in June.

Mr. Steinhaus said, “I am very pleased to approve these exceptional proposals, which protect vital resources in three distinct areas of Dutchess County. Just as important, they demonstrate the value of partnership-among local, regional, and state government agencies, and between the public and private sector. I congratulate the Town of Poughkeepsie for its role in creating a wonderful park at Peach Hill that will give the public access to extraordinary views of this beautiful valley for the first time. Diverse partnerships leveraging dollars to protect resources ― exactly what I envisioned and what we are accomplishing.”

County Executive Steinhaus proposed the original Open Space and Farmland Protection Matching Grant Program in his 1999 State of the County Address and convened a task force of public and private sector partners to develop guidelines that would allow the County to protect its open space and agricultural resources. Key to the proposal was the matching grant concept, which allowed the County to leverage its investment in partnership with public and private funding programs. The proposal, including an initial bond of $1 million, was approved by the County Legislature in 2000. The Partnership for Manageable Growth, approved in 2001, expanded the original program to encourage planning and participation at the local level.

Since the establishment of the Matching Grant Program the Dutchess County Planning Board has recommended $1,825,966 in for open space and farmland proposals that would protect 1,206 acres. The Board anticipates an increase in applications as communities commit to local participation. The County Executive has committed $7 million to the program to date, with the expectation of protecting at least 10,000 acres of resources over the coming decade.

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Mr. Steinhaus stated, “We have taken the lead in creating a unique program with the municipalities whose residents benefit most directly from these resources. Now I challenge more local governments to join us. As outside resources become more scarce, it becomes the responsibility of our Towns and Villages to commit their own dollars.”

The County has already agreed to secure some of the County’s most remarkable vistas ― Greystone, Peach Hill, the Stissing Mountain Trail Head ― and the Forbus Butternut Tree, a State Park in the City of Poughkeepsie. And the County has received more than $1.8 million from the State to protect important farmland. The Pulver Farm is the core of an operation on nearly 2,000 acres at the base of Stissing Mountain in Pine Plains; the Bailey Farm easement insures that more than 400 acres at the intersection of I-84 and the Taconic Parkway in East Fishkill will remain undeveloped despite the area’s accelerating growth. Peach Hill will provide public access to an extraordinary vista at the highest point in the Town of Poughkeepsie.

Both the Pulver and Bailey acquisitions include funding from the New York State Clean Water/Clean Air Bond Act’s Environmental Protection Fund (EPF). Through the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets, Dutchess County was awarded $710,963 for the Pulver Farm, with a County match of $236,987 (or 25%), ad $890,000 for the Bailey Farm, with a County match of $609,000 (a 33% portion of the project’s total cost). The Town of Poughkeepsie’s acquisition of Peach Hill is made possibly by grants of $321,000 from the Sate of New York’s Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation, $227,000 from Scenic Hudson, Inc. and $252,000 from Dutchess County (31.5%). The Town’s investment will include $12,000 and maintenance responsibilities.

The County’s first project, acquisition of a conservation easement on Mead Orchards in the Town of Red Hook, provided a 25 percent grant to match a 75 percent grant from the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets - a three-dollar return for each County dollar invested.


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