The Town of New Paltz recently announced the acquisition of 62 acres of woodlands, wetlands and streams just east of the Duzine Elementary School on Sunset Ridge Road.
The acreage, which was purchased for $550,000, will be utilized as a key component of the Mill Brook Preserve, which, will contain “walking paths similar to the Rail Trail that will be through this and adjoining properties,” Town Supervisor Toni Hokanson said.
The purchased area includes wetlands that are sensitive to wildlife and contains Tributary 13, a stream which feeds into the Wallkill River. The land is also adjacent to a protected portion of the Woodland Pond retirement community, which when combined with the recently purchased land, will create over 100 acres of protected land.
Village Environmental Conservation Commission Co-Chair Rachel Lagodka believed the purchase was an intelligent investment for the town of New Paltz.
“[The purchased land] is a dream come true for many dedicated community members who have worked hard to protect open space in New Paltz,” she said.
Lagodka also said the purchase was a good investment for New Paltz and should help the town in the future.
“[The land] improves property values since protecting open space is far less expensive than the costs of government services like the school system, water, fire and police. And a house near a park is more valuable than a house near a development,” she said.
According to Lagodka, several committees and neighborhood groups have been working hard to finalize the purchase, and Hokanson said the town received “overwhelming” support for the land purchase from the New Paltz community.
Lagodka was “ecstatic” the land will be preserved, and said it could serve as an excellent location for students to hike and study ecology.
“[It] contains a crucial part of the watershed of the Mill Brook where an old beaver pond is transitioning into a beaver meadow,” she said.
A report will be made by a professional consultant that will include proposed trails and environmental features that will be shown at a meeting, said Lagodka. State University of New York student research from the last five years will also be referenced in the report. Although a date for the meeting has yet to be set, Lagodka said the report will be made soon.
According to Hokanson, the purchased land will be financed using a one-year bond anticipation note with 1.28 percent interest, which will be converted to a 30-year bond at the end of the year.