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News Release    

September 11, 2003


County "Closes" on Silver Ledge Farm - East Fishkill Gateway Property Saved

Dutchess County Executive William Steinhaus announced completion today of the final step in acquiring a conservation easement on Silver Ledge Farm in the town of East Fishkill, one of the most strategically located farms in Southern Dutchess.

Dutchess County’s Open Space and Farmland Protection Matching Grant Fund, was initiated by Steinhaus in 1999 and is the first of its kind in the Hudson Valley, and a model across NY State.

After the closing this morning, Steinhaus stated, “Protecting the Silver Ledge Farm property is a centerpiece accomplishment for my vision of Dutchess County’s future, not only because of the extraordinary scenic and agricultural resource we are protecting, but also because of the partnership this acquisition represents. In addition to the staff in the Steinhaus Administration, I’d like to give credit to the commitment of time and expertise of the Dutchess Land Conservancy and personally congratulate Mr. Bailey for his commitment to protecting his land for future generations.”

Owned by Mr. Elton V. Bailey, the 401-acre Silver Ledge Farm is located at the key gateway intersection of the Taconic Parkway and Interstate 84. The conservation easement, which the County will co-hold in partnership with the Dutchess Land Conservancy, will protect productive farmland and wetland habitat, secure the scenic vista that greets visitors to Southern Dutchess and most importantly, support the continuity of an important, productive farm business in an area that has been subject to dramatic residential development pressure in recent years.

Elton Bailey, owner of the property said, “All my life I have watched the encroaching suburban sprawl with dread. I wondered if I could do anything to preserve my beautiful property permanently as open farmland as it is now. At the current rate, all the open space in East Fishkill will soon be lost to development. I hope conservation easements will be the answer to the problem.”

The county funding provided a 30% match of $609,000 against an award of $890,000 from the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets. The owner, to insure his land will continue to be part of Dutchess County’s traditional agricultural landscape, donated the balance of the $2 million value of the farm’s development rights. The state grant, to be matched by the county program, was awarded to the county on the basis of an application submitted to the Clean Water-Clean Air Bond Act/Environmental Protection Fund by the Dutchess County Agriculture and Farmland Protection Board.

County Executive Steinhaus launched the program in his 1999 State of the County Address. Since that time, the Dutchess County Planning Board has recommended funding for eight proposals that will secure more than 1,200 acres of farmland and open space.



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