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News Release    

July 18, 2003

Steinhaus Pushes Dollars for Wappinger Historic Carnwath Property

Measure to be Considered at August Meeting of the Dutchess County Legislature

Poughkeepsie... Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus announced today he is sending legislation for a $280,000 funding commitment to the Dutchess County Legislature to formalize the County's partnership with the Town of Wappinger's for acquisition of Carnwath Farms.

The Town of Wappinger acquired the Carnwath Farms property in 2000 and has been developing a master plan for adaptive reuse of its historic buildings and recreational use of the vast lawns that overlook the Hudson River.

According to County Executive Steinhaus, "The Town of Wappinger was one of the first to commit municipal funds to qualify for a match from our County's program. We congratulate the Town for developing an ambitious master plan for this unique and historic site. I am especially pleased our partnership will secure a key segment of the Hudson River Valley Greenway that will provide public access to one of the most spectacular river views in the area."

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.

The Town of Wappinger joined the Greenway Compact in February 2002, and is negotiating a conservation easement with the County that will insure that Carnwath's parkland will be preserved permanently.

Mr. Steinhaus said, "I envisioned an Open Space and Farmland Protection Program based on partnership and collaboration, and I am gratified to see our Compact communities rising to the challenge. Creating a public park at Carnwath Farms is a remarkable achievement for everyone involved."

The Dutchess County Planning Board has recommended the County's Partnership for Manageable Growth/Open Space and Farmland Protection Matching Grant Program provide a grant to the Town of up to $280,000, or one third of the cost of acquiring the public open space portion of the 99.6-acre property on Wheeler Hill Road formerly known as the "Greystone Property."

Since the establishment by Steinhaus 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 goal of protecting at least 10,000 acres of resources over the coming decade.

The resolution will be considered at the August meeting of the Dutchess County Legislature.

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