A new sign outside Gardiner Town Hall will track the final fundraising needed to protect a local farm for future generations. Members of the newly formed “Hess Farm Preservation Committee” gathered recently to install the sign and kick off the $40,000 winter fundraising campaign. Albert Hess has agreed to sell the development rights to his 74-acre family farm to the Town of Gardiner and the Open Space Institute. The agreement will keep the property in private ownership and on the local tax rolls, but will permanently preserve the fertile land for farming and open space. The farm is located at the corner of Sand Hill and Marabac Roads, a mile south of the hamlet and a prime location for future residential development.
An independent appraisal priced the property’s development rights at $450,000. A federal grant will pay half this cost, if the remaining $225,000 is raised by March of next year — less than four months away. The non-profit Open Space Institute has pledged $112,500 from its land trust affiliate, Open Space Conservancy. And more than $72,000 has been raised from local residents and foundation grants — bringing the total raised to about $410,000, with $40,000 still needed.
“It would be a shame if we let nearly $400,000 in grants slip through our fingers, and lose this opportunity to protect a wonderful old farm for our children and our grandchildren,” said Rich Koenig, a Gardiner town councilman who is also a member of the ad hoc Hess Farm fundraising committee. “I hope everyone in the community will contribute to this great project.”
More information about the Hess Farm preservation project can be found on the Town of Gardiner’s website www.townofgardiner.org.
On-line contributions to the Hess Farm preservation project may be made at Open Space Institute’s website www.osiny.org (specify “Hess Farm”). Checks — made payable to “Open Space Conservancy” — may be sent c/o Open Space Institute, 1350 Broadway, Suite 201, New York, NY 10018 (be sure to write “Hess Farm” on your check’s memo line). All contributions are tax deductible.