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Poughkeepsie… Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro has announced Dutchess County’s Partnership for Manageable Growth (PMG) Program will provide $1,002,500 to permanently protect three farms in Dutchess County, preserving more than 550 acres of agriculture for years to come. An additional $40,000 will enhance preservation of and increase public access to a local historic site, which is on the National Register of Historic Places.
County Executive Molinaro said, “The Partnership for Manageable Growth program allows us to strategically preserve farmlands that are the basis for agriculture which is a vital, diverse and growing economic engine throughout the County. Each of the three farm projects receiving awards this year also protects critical community water resources, a variety of important habitats and majestic scenic views – embodying the spirit of the PMG program, protecting the land and important natural resources, while fostering agriculture for subsequent generations. Farming played such an important role in Dutchess County’s past, and it will play a vital part in our future; and we must do all we can to promote it. These PMG funds will allow these three farms to continue a centuries-old tradition in Dutchess County while positioning them well for the future of the industry.”
County Executive Molinaro continued, “The open space acquisition project that is being awarded PMG funding this year will greatly enhance the historic, Kimlin Cider Mill site providing a buffer for the site and allowing additional programing at the Mill, while ensuring public access. The site also provides important wildlife habitat in a suburban area.”
The County Planning Board evaluated proposed Open Space and Farmland Protection projects using objective criteria, met with the farmers or the non-profit group sponsors at each property, and subsequently provided funding recommendations to County Executive Molinaro. The three farms are contained within the County’s “Agricultural Priority Areas,” as delineated in the 2015 Dutchess County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan. The open space acquisition project is to enhance the preservation of a local historic landmark that is on the National Register of Historic Places.
County Planning Board Chairman Hans Klingzahn said, “Each of the projects is a prime example of why the Partnership for Manageable Growth Program was established: to protect farms and open spaces that have an important impact on Dutchess County. These farms feature high-quality soils and dedicated multi-generational farming families which in turn supply an economic benefit to the County; they are located in key gateway areas of our communities, accentuating our scenic viewsheds; protect natural resources like wildlife habitat and water, and hold a historic importance for the County. The open space acquisition will preserve and enhance a local historic site that tells the story of our agricultural past.”
Projects receiving 2018 PMG funding include:
Speeter/Jordan Lane Farm, Town of Pine Plains
The historic Jordan Lane Farm has been owned by the Jordans for almost 200 years, and Betsy Speeter is the eighth generation of the family to operate this 155.65-acre farm. Its historic white farmhouse, built in 1830, stands as a testament to the history of farming in this area of Dutchess County. The farm has an exceptional amount of soils considered of prime and statewide important farmland soils, and the Jordan Lane Farm comprises approximately 25 percent of the Wellhead Protection Zone Overlay created by the Town of Pine Plains as an area critical to provide clean drinking water for the town. This is why the NYSDEC has selected this project to receive up to $982,290 in Water Quality Improvement Program funds, which will be used to leverage the County funds. The total estimated cost of the acquisition of the conservation easement at Speeter/Jordan Lane Farm is $1,337,290. The County’s PMG funding will provide 25 percent of the cost, $330,000; NYSDEC will provide 73 percent of the cost, $982,290; and the Dutchess Land Conservancy is working with partners to secure the remaining 2 percent, or $25,000.
Dutchess County Legislature Chair Gregg Pulver, who represents the towns of North East, Stanford, Pine Plains and Milan, said, “The Jordan Lane Farm has played a key role in the development and history of Pine Plains, and its prime soil will now be preserved for future generations to tend. This is a great example of the Partnership for Manageable Growth program and its benefit to our community.”
Glendale Farm, Town of Amenia
The Glendale Farm in the Town of Amenia is a 283-acre farm property, owned by sisters Phyllis Roosa and Linda Caldwell. The farm serves as the base for the Deere Haven Dairy, which has about 100 Holstein cows altogether and 59 milking at any time. Forty-seven (47) percent of Glendale Farm consists of prime and statewide important farmland soils. The farm extends from the Harlem Valley Rail Trail, where it runs along both sides of the trail, across 60 acres of federal- and state-protected wetlands, which provides habitat for rare and vulnerable plant and animal species, to a scenic ridgeline that makes up a key part of Amenia’s viewshed. The total estimated cost of the acquisition of the conservation easement at Glendale Farm is $1,556,500. The County’s PMG funding will provide 25 percent of the cost, $386,000, and the Dutchess Land Conservancy is working with partners to secure the remaining 75 percent, or $1,170,500.
Meili Farm, Town of Amenia
Meili Farm consists of 235 acres that straddles the New York/Connecticut border, with 115 acres in the Town of Amenia. Meili Farm is a livestock operation specializing in breeds that are hardy and can live outdoors in as natural a setting as possible. The combined 235 acres, located on both sides of Route 343, serve as a gateway between the two states and beautifully characterize the bucolic Harlem Valley. The property contains more than 3,000 linear feet of the Webatuck Creek, 50 acres of its floodplain and 58 acres of federal and state regulated wetlands. The Webatuck Creek and its riparian corridor provide habitat for many plants and animals and serve as important links between habitats throughout the town. These areas are also essential in maintaining water quality in Amenia and further downstream in the Ten-Mile river watershed. The total estimated cost of the acquisition of the conservation easement at Meili Farm is $618,000. The County’s PMG funding will provide 46 percent of the cost, $286,500, and the Dutchess Land Conservancy is working with partners to secure the remaining 54 percent, or $331,500.
County Legislator Deirdre Houston, who represents the towns of Amenia, Pleasant Valley and Washington, as well as the Village of Millbrook, said, “Glendale and Meili farms offer so much to the community surrounding them – from aesthetic beauty to important agriculture that serves the region. I’m proud the Partnership for Manageable Growth program will allow this land to remain protected and beneficial for decades to come.”
Becky Thornton, President of the Dutchess Land Conservancy, said “We are tremendously grateful for the support of County Executive Molinaro, County legislators, Planning Board members, local leaders and the community as we look to preserve our local farms. Local agriculture supports our economy and is an integral part of many of our county’s most scenic vistas, providing a wealth of benefits for all residents. These projects are great investments in our community, our rural heritage, and our quality of life, and we thank Dutchess County for its continued dedication to protecting our farmland.”
Cider Mill Friends Lot 1 Acquisition
The Cider Mill Friends of Open Space & Historic Preservation, Inc. own and operate the historic Kimlin Cider Mill, located on a 1.8-acre parcel on Cedar Avenue, in the Town of Poughkeepsie. The Cider Mill Friends Lot 1 Acquisition project has been awarded PMG funds to facilitate the purchase of an adjacent, 1-acre parcel to the Kimlin Cider Mill site to provide a buffer to the historic site from development and provide public access to the adjacent open meadow. This will allow Cider Mill Friends to preserve the area as wildlife habitat and extend their public programing. The mill site is a Local Historic Landmark and has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places. The total estimated cost of the acquisition of the conservation easement at Cider Mill Friends Lot 1 is $101,800. The County’s PMG funding will provide 39 percent of the cost, $40,000, and the Cider Mill Friends of Open Space & Historic Preservation, Inc. is working with partners to secure the remaining 61 percent, or $61,800.
Lisa Weiss, president of the Cider Mill Friends of Open Space & Historic Preservation, Inc., said, “We thank County Executive Molinaro and the Dutchess County Legislature for their unwavering commitment to preserving open space. Dutchess County will benefit greatly from this project, and we’re grateful for the partnership that made this preservation a reality.”
Created in 1999, the PMG program helps protect important agricultural and open space resources. The program provides a locally funded match for land preservation purchases up to 50 percent of the total project cost. Since its inception, the program has helped to protect almost 4,000 acres of farmland and open space in Dutchess County.