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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE01-50

October 29, 2001

Contact: Geoff Ryan (718/595-6600)

New York City Acquires 123-Acre Tract Near New Croton Reservoir In Westchester County

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 to DEP.

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 use."

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).

 

More Information

NYC Department of Environmental Protection
Public Affairs

59-17 Junction Boulevard
19th Floor
Flushing, NY 11373

(718) 595-6600