Agreement Reached on Apple Orchard Purchase (NH)
Concord, New Hampshire–The Trust for Public Land, a nonprofit conservation organization, announced today that it has reached an agreement to purchase the 176-acre Sunnycrest apple orchard on Carter Hill Road in Concord from the current owner, Sunnycrest Farms, Inc. Under the terms of the agreement, TPL has until March 31, 2001 to purchase the property for $950,000. If sufficient funds can be raised for the purchase, TPL plans to place a conservation and public access easement over the land to permanently protect it from development, and then sell the property to a private buyer for continued agricultural use.
TPL began negotiating with Sunnycrest Farms, Inc. less than two months ago, at the request of Concord officials and the Friends of the Orchard, a citizens group that formed earlier this year to protect the orchard from development.
“The Trust for Public Land is delighted to announce our agreement to purchase Sunnycrest orchard. There is now a window of opportunity to pull together the funds needed to protect this outstanding property permanently,” said David Houghton, director of TPL’s field offices in northern New England. “We are rolling up our sleeves to help the Friends of the Orchard and the Concord Conservation Trust raise $1.2 million by March 31, 2001 to conserve the farm, replace the farm equipment that is not included in the sale, and cover costs associated with the project.”
“Our plan is to place a conservation and public access easement over the land that will prohibit development permanently, and then sell the property to a private buyer for continued agricultural use,” explained Houghton. “To accomplish this goal, we will be looking for funding from private supporters, the City of Concord, New Hampshire’s new Land and Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP), and federal sources.”
Manchester attorney, John Bisson, speaking on behalf of Sunnycrest Farm, Inc. stated, “The Concord property has been part of the Sunnycrest family for nearly 30 years. Over the years, Sunnycrest has enjoyed opening its doors to the community and allowing others to share in the beauty of this exceptional property. Because of Sunnycrest’s commitment to protecting this irreplaceable natural resource, Sunnycrest gladly accepted a purchase price less than others have offered to insure the preservation of the property for generations to come. Sunnycrest is confident that continued community support and the fundraising efforts of the Trust for Public Land will make this dream a reality.”
“I was delighted to learn that TPL has reached an agreement to purchase Sunnycrest orchard in order to protect it from development. The orchard is an important natural and agricultural resource for our community. I would definitely support any request from the Concord Conservation Commission to partially fund a match for the acquisition of an easement on the property,” said Mayor Bill Veroneau. “This is an important conservation effort that will affect the character of the City of Concord for years to come.”
“Protecting New Hampshire’s farmlands takes a big step forward today with the announcement of an agreement to purchase Sunnycrest orchard, an important part of Concord’s natural beauty,” said Senator Judd Gregg. “I want to commend the Trust for Public Land for their work, as well as the Friends of the Orchard. Because of the dedication of both of these organizations, we have an opportunity to protect this valuable and treasured resource.” Senator Gregg is a member of the Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee.
Second District Congressman Charlie Bass stated, “The collaboration and the speed of action taken by the city of Concord and concerned citizens to save Sunnycrest orchard should be commended. I promise to lend my assistance and support to this worthy project in any way possible. New Hampshire’s apple orchards are an irreplaceable part of not only our state’s agricultural economy, but its rural character as well.”
“Three generations of Concord residents have found communion at Sunnycrest orchard. At any season, but especially in fall, the property is a trove of scenic beauty and an agricultural lesson in humankind’s connection to the soil. It is our collective dream to pass this combined heritage to a fourth generation and beyond,” said Michael Garrett, a member of Friends of the Orchard. Mr. Garrett served for 25 years as the assistant principal of Concord High School and for 10 years as a member of Concord’s City Council. Since his retirement, Mr. Garrett has moved to Lamoine, Maine, but has remained actively involved in the effort to save Sunnycrest orchard from development.
“This agreement is great news for Concord, but it is only the first step. Now the community must work together to raise the funds needed to protect the orchard permanently. The Concord Conservation Trust is looking forward to helping TPL and the Friends of the Orchard complete this wonderful conservation project,” said Tom Masland, chairman of the Concord Conservation Trust.
With spectacular views of Mount Moosilauke and Mount Cardigan, 50 rolling acres of mature fruit trees, a thriving farmstand, and a long history, Sunnycrest orchard is an important community meeting place that offers Concord residents a chance to connect with the area’s agricultural heritage. In addition, the orchard is also an important educational and recreational resource. More than 2,000 school children visit the orchard annually on field trips, and the property’s extensive system of hiking and cross-country skiing trails is enjoyed by local residents all year long.
Contributions to the Campaign to Save Sunnycrest Orchard are tax-deductible and can be sent to the Concord Conservation Trust, 54 Portsmouth Street, Concord, NH 03301. Anonymous gifts, or gifts of stock and securities, should be directed to the Trust for Public Land. Please contact Anne Truslow at (207) 772-7424 x1 for more information.
The Trust for Public Land is a national conservation organization dedicated to protecting land for people to enjoy as parks and open space. Since 1972, TPL has protected more than 1.2 million acres nationwide, including nearly 10,000 acres in New Hampshire. To learn more, contact TPL’s Northern New England Field Office at (802) 223-1373 or visit www.tpl.org.
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