MHLC is thrilled to be a part of an exciting new land project in the Town of Berne.
Natural Resources Preserved while Allowing for Economic
Development Opportunities in Helderbergs
The natural beauty and resources of 350 acres of land on Game Farm road in the town of Berne will be preserved and provide a yet untapped economic development opportunity for the Hilltowns. Property on Game Farm Road, formerly the site of the Center for Wisdom & Compassion, has been sold to the town of Berne. At a press conference today, Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy highlighted the sale as a chance to use the existing buildings and the land as both a public resource and a way for the town to generate revenue.
“The property, including a 5,000 square foot lodge and a retreat house, is amazing and presents a chance for our Hilltown communities to conserve 350 acres of open space as well as to find ways to capitalize on recreational and tourism dollars,” said McCoy.
“The Buddhists chose this site for their Center for Wisdom & Compassion because they were inspired by the beauty, the location and our community,” said Berne Town Supervisor Kevin Crosier. “Possibilities are endless for us to encourage the public to walk the trails or go camping or to book weddings, retreats or other programs as we further develop our plan down the road.”
Berne needed help to purchase the property and turned to the Open Space Institute (OSI) which provided a $237,000 grant and $25,000 in associated transaction costs.
“For the past 20 years, OSI has been an active conservation leader throughout the Helderberg landscape,” said Kim Elliman, President & CEO, OSI. “In saving nearly 3,000 acres along the escarpment we have protected valuable natural resources, preserved community character and improved recreational access for area residents. OSI is proud to support this community-inspired, public/private project and congratulate our partners at the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy, the Town of Berne and Albany County. We look forward to seeing its transformation into an inspiring public space for all to enjoy.”
With a purchase price of $475,000, the town of Berne paid $112,500 and received $125,000 from the Albany County Capital Resource Corporation. “The CRC is happy to help fund this project,” said Albany County Legislator Gary Domalewicz, Chairman of the CRC. “This will help stimulate economic growth and eventually jobs in the Hilltowns, an area of Albany County which needs help in that area.”
Sale of the land includes an easement held by the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy to allow both active use and park-like use for how the property may be utilized. “The Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy is pleased to be a partner in this very exciting project,” said Mark King, Executive Director, Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy.
“The Conservancy holds a conservation easement on the property that helps to guide how the park will be used in the future. It promotes the reuse of existing structures and facilities on the property and provides flexibility for additional recreational and economic development activities, while ensuring that the property will always be available for public use as a park. The project is a great example of a rural town preserving and promoting one of its greatest assets – the scenic beauty of the Helderberg region.”
“I look forward to working with local officials to promote and expand this new tourist attraction, which has the potential to create new jobs and grow the region’s economy,” said Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara. “This project is a win-win because it will allow visitors from across the region to experience a hidden gem in Upstate New York, while still preserving the unique character that makes it special.”
“This is truly a win-win for everyone,” said Shawn Morse, Chairman of the Albany County Legislature. “We are preserving the scenic beauty of Albany County while at the same time, opening up the opportunity for economic development and job creation for the Hilltowns. I want to commend Supervisor Crosier, CRC Chairman Domalewicz and the Open Space Institute for making this come together.”
An advisory board will guide the future and uses of the property. Nominations are now being accepted for the volunteer positions.
Aerial video of the property provided by Albany County
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