FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE01-08
Contact: Geoff Ryan
York City Purchases 178 Acres In Yorktown For Watershed Protection
Commissioner Joel A. Miele Sr., P.E., of the New York City Department of
Environmental Protection (DEP) announced today that the City has purchased
a 178-acre property in Yorktown. The parcel abuts City-owned, buffer land
at the New Croton Reservoir and Westchester County's 112-acre John E. Hand
Park at Bald Mountain. The acquisition is part of the City's effort to protect
watershed land under the 1997 Watershed Memorandum of Agreement (MOA), and
represents the first of several expected acquisitions in the New Croton Reservoir
basin. The property is characterized by rolling topography, fields, forest
and areas that slope down to the reservoir.
"We are pleased that the landowner decided to sell this undeveloped
site to the City," said Commissioner Miele. "The property drains
directly into the New Croton Reservoir, where protection of water quality
is particularly important because water from the eleven other reservoirs of
the Croton System collects there before flowing to the City's distribution
Commissioner Miele added, "I am also pleased to say that the overall
response of willing sellers to the City's fair-market-value purchase offers
has been overwhelmingly positive. To date, the City has signed purchase agreements
with over 400 landowners on more than 30,000 acres throughout the watershed,
which includes much of the Catskill Mountain Region as well as portions of
Dutchess, Putnam and Westchester Counties."
The acquired land is in Priority "A" of the Croton system, for
which the City has committed $11.5 million for land acquisition. Under the
MOA, the City considers public access to newly acquired properties and what
kinds, if any, of passive recreational purposes may be appropriate for the
"We have determined that this parcel is suitable for hiking and we
expect to open it in 2002 to members of the public with DEP hiking permits,"
said Commissioner Miele.
Under provisions of the MOA, New York City is acquiring watershed lands
that are important for the protection of drinking water quality. The program
involves willing seller/willing buyer agreements, with the City offering to
purchase lands and conservation easements at fair market value. The City will
make property tax payments based on the fair market value of the acquisitions.
Lands acquired will be protected for water quality purposes, with certain
properties opened up for public access and recreational use. Information about
the City's Land Acquisition and Conservation Easement programs is available
at 1-800-575-LAND (5263).
Although this particular parcel will not be open for hiking until 2002,
other City-owned properties in Putnam County and in the West-of-Hudson watersheds
are available for hiking and fishing to members of the public with DEP Hiking
Permits. Applications for permits are available online at www.nyc.gov/dep,
from 1-800-575-LAND (5263), at DEP offices, and in the town halls of municipalities
that contain City-owned properties opened for access.