Gateway to Westchester Protected (NY)

March 5, 2004
New York

Greenburgh, NY, 3/5/2004: The Trust for Public Land joined Governor George E. Pataki today to announce the acquisition of nearly 200 acres of open space in the Town of Greenburgh, Westchester County, which will be preserved as parkland and protected from future development. The unique parcel, known as Taxter Ridge, is considered the "Gateway to Westchester" and is the largest undeveloped tract of land in Westchester County. It features stunning rock ledges, woodlands, streams, and wetlands.

"By acquiring this land, the largest open and undeveloped space in Westchester County, we are safeguarding precious natural resources while expanding outdoor opportunities for families in and around the region," Governor Pataki said. "We've already protected more than 500,000 acres of open space since 1995 and this valuable acquisition will further our goals of becoming a national leader in open space preservation and protecting one million acres by the end of the decade. It also will allow the community and visitors to the Hudson Valley to enjoy the natural beauty of this scenic ridge, knowing that it will be spared from future development and preserved for the benefit of future generations."

The Governor was joined in making the announcement by local officials from Westchester County, the Town of Greenburgh and the Village of Tarrytown, as well as representatives from the Trust for Public Land (TPL), and the State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

Kate Garrett, project manager for TPL, said, "The size and value of this property made a partnership critical for its protection. We are delighted that this important resource is now available for generations to come, linking to and expanding existing recreational resources in Westchester County."

The Trust for Public Land negotiated the purchase agreement among the state, Westchester County and the Town of Greenburgh, with each contributing one-third of the purchase price. The Village of Tarrytown also will acquire a 17-acre portion for $26,115 as part of the agreement. The state's share of the total $10.9 million purchase is $3.6 million, which will be provided through the State's Environmental Protection Fund (EPF).

The property will be known as the Taxter Ridge Park Preserve and will be operated by the Town of Greenburgh. It is located south of Interstate 287 and is the largest tract of undeveloped land in Westchester County. Considered the "Gateway to Westchester", the 199-acre property has a stunning topography. The ridge, a natural rock ledge, is a prominent geographical feature in the land that will be maintained and protected as open space. Previously considered for development, the site links 400 acres of existing municipal parkland and another 45 acres in the Town of Irvington.

State Senator Nicholas A. Spano said, "New York State is home to some of the most beautiful natural resources in the country. Here in Westchester County, we are fortunate enough to have one of those resources here in our own back yard. I commend Governor Pataki for his commitment to preserving open space and protecting the environment. Thanks to this partnership, Taxter Ridge will be enjoyed for generations to come, and I am proud to have been a part of this project."

Andrew Spano, Westchester County Executive, said, "This culminates a three-year effort by the county to preserve this property, one of the largest undeveloped parcels in lower Westchester. It is superbly situated to link existing nearby major trailways and parkland -- the Old Croton Aqueduct State Trailway, the county's RiverWalk along the Hudson River, the Greenburgh Town Nature Preserve, the county's V.E. Macy Park and the recently acquired Westwood Property. Thanks to the team effort of the state, county, town and village, an incredible parcel of land has been preserved."

Paul Feiner, Town of Greenburgh Supervisor, said, "This is one of the most important parcels of land to preserve in the entire region. It is one of the largest tracts of open space available. It's great that we are able to keep it from being developed. I'll be asking the town board within the next month to pass legislation so that it will remain as permanent parkland."

Mayor Paul Janos, Village of Tarrytown, said, "We are very fortunate to have a Governor like George Pataki that is willing to take the extra step and who understands the valuable resource of protecting open space. The residents of Tarrytown will always be able to enjoy this land for generations to come."

State Parks Commissioner Bernadette Castro said, "Governor Pataki's unprecedented commitment to protecting natural resources has increased the recreational and cultural value of open space and parklands across the Empire State. Here in Westchester County, our successful conservation efforts help us meet the needs of a large community. Through our stewardship, we have been able to preserve scenic parklands and expand outdoor opportunities for all of New York's residents."

In his State of the State message in January, Governor Pataki set forth an ambitious goal to make New York the nation's leader in open space conservation. Under the Governor's leadership, the State has already invested more than $484 million to acquire and protect more than 500,000 acres of valuable land. The Governor has committed to acquiring one million acres of open space by the end of the decade.

The Trust for Public Land (TPL) is a national nonprofit land conservation organization that conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, and other natural places, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. Since its founding in 1972, TPL's has helped protect more than 1.6 million acres of land in 45 states, including more than 65,000 acres in New York. In New York State, TPL works with its joint venture partner, the nonprofit Open Space Institute (OSI). The Trust for Public Land depends on the support and generosity of individuals, foundations, and businesses to achieve our land for people mission. For more information please visit www.tpl.org