FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE01-50
Contact: Geoff Ryan
York City Acquires 123-Acre Tract Near New Croton Reservoir In Westchester
Commissioner Joel A. Miele Sr., P.E., of the New York City Department of
Environmental Protection (DEP) announced today that the City has acquired
a 123-acre tract in central Yorktown, Westchester County. The vacant property
is bounded by the City's land around New Croton Reservoir, the Taconic State
Parkway and property on Turkey Mountain, which was recently acquired by New
York State Department of Environmental Conservation for eventual transfer
Commissioner Miele said, "The newly acquired land, which DEP will manage
as part of its watershed protection program, will protect the property from
development in close proximity to an important reservoir."
After the closing, Yorktown Supervisor Linda Cooper said, "We are pleased
to have this land protected as open space in our community, and we look forward
to working with the City to ensure protection of both water quality, views,
and other scenic and natural resources. The City's watershed protection efforts
dovetail nicely with what Yorktown, as well as the County, would like to see
accomplished. It is particularly pleasing to know that the City will be paying
property taxes on these lands, and may even open them up for recreational
Commissioner Miele said "The response from landowners to the Land
Acquisition and Stewardship Program has been tremendous. To date, over 475
willing sellers have agreed to accept the City's fair market value purchase
offers and contract terms. This has allowed the City to protect sensitive
watershed lands from development, to provide passive recreational opportunities
for the public, and to do so without loss of property taxes to local communities.
"I regret that after the attacks on the World Trade Center and the
Pentagon," Commissioner Miele continued, "DEP implemented a heightened
security alert program in the watershed and had to close Water Supply lands
to public access until further notice. I want to assure people that we will
work with communities to open our lands again once we determine that public
safety can be ensured."
With this purchase, City acquisitions in the Croton watershed now total
452 acres. Throughout the Catskill / Delaware basins, on both sides of the
Hudson River, the City has purchased 17,250 acres and has over 16,000 acres
secured through purchase contracts that are expected to close during the coming
months. These projects include a dozen conservation easements averaging about
100 acres each. An additional 2,000 acres in agricultural easements in Delaware
County have been signed to purchase contracts by the Watershed Agricultural
Council, one of the City's partners in watershed protection.
The Land Acquisition Program acquires land or conservation easements at
fair market value from willing sellers only, and pays property taxes in proportion
to the property rights acquired. All such properties are purchased under conditions
established by the 1997 Watershed Memorandum of Agreement, which was signed
by watershed towns, villages and counties, the City, New York State, the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency and some environmental groups.
For more information, landowners can contact the Land Acquisition and Stewardship
Program at 1-800-575-LAND (1-800-575-5263).