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October 23, 2001

Contact: Geoff Ryan (718/595-6600)

New York City Acquires 509-Acre Tract Near West Branch Reservoir In Putnam 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 509-acre tract known as Lakepointe Woods in Putnam County. The vacant property, located between Dixon and Barrett Hill Roads in Carmel, had previously been proposed for over 100 home sites but now will be managed by the City for watershed protection purposes. The acquisition will protect several thousand linear feet of tributaries to the West Branch Reservoir, as well as the entirety of Lockwood Pond and associated wetland resources.

"I want to thank Mr. Eric Goldfine for selling this important parcel to the City," said Commissioner Miele. "The response from landowners to the Land Acquisition and Stewardship Program has been very positive. To date, over 475 willing sellers have agreed to accept the City's fair-market-value purchase offers and contract terms. This has allowed us 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.

"Regrettably, watershed lands have been closed to public access until further notice, due to the terrorist attacks of September 11th and subsequent events," Commissioner Miele continued. "I want to assure everyone, however, that we will work with communities to re-open our lands once we determine that public safety can be ensured."

After the closing, Mr. Goldfine said, "As a businessman, developer and landowner, I can say that it was a pleasure to do business with the City's Land Acquisition and Stewardship Program. I know firsthand the challenges of pulling together the staff and resources necessary to transact complicated real estate deals, and the City's staff treated me with the professionalism, courtesy and respect that allowed this project to happen. I would encourage any landowner considering a sale of their property to think about selling to the City. The benefits are clear: you receive fair market value, there is no loss to the local tax base, and perhaps best of all you get the peace of mind that comes with knowing your land will be managed to protect drinking water for millions of families."

With this purchase, City acquisitions throughout the Catskill/Delaware basins (on both sides of the Hudson River) now total 17,250 acres purchased, and over 16,000 acres under purchase contracts that are expected to close over 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 communities and counties, New York State, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the City, and some environmental organizations.

For more information, landowners may contact the Land Acquisition and Stewardship Program at 1-800-575-LAND (1-800-575-5623).


More Information

NYC Department of Environmental Protection
Public Affairs

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

(718) 595-6600