AREA NEWSThe Northern Westchester Examiner

Public-Private Partnership Adds Parcel to Teatown

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A ribbon cutting ceremony to mark Teatown Lake Reservation's acquiring of the 59-acre Croft property was held on June 13.

Utilizing a unique approach that saw Westchester County government joining forces with private donors and the Open Space Institute, the Teatown Lake Reservation has acquired a 59-acre open space parcel of adjacent land known as The Croft.

The partnership — and land acquisition — was announced at a press conference Wednesday morning at Teatown that drew notables like Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, Yorktown Town Supervisor Michael Grace, Westchester County Board of Legislators Chairman Ken Jenkins and county legislators Michael Kaplowitz and Catherine Borgia.

Astorino said the protection of land like The Croft is crucial to ensuring that the county retains its character and status as a sought-after place to live.

He said the Teatown acquisition “unifies 2,000 acres of permanent open spaces just 40 miles from midtown Manhattan.”

The project “makes a very special part of Westchester good forever,” he said.

The Croft project drew on private funds raised by Teatown, a bridge loan from the Norcross Foundation, financial support from the Open Space Institute and a permanent conservation easement on the land by Westchester County. As part of the deal, Teatown also assumed management responsibility for three nearby county-owned parks.

The $3.5 million deal was 15 years in the making, Astorino said, saluting former Teatown Chairman Geoff Thompson, who pushed hard for the land acquisition.

“Every morning, he’d come into the office and I’d say, ‘Do you want coffee?’ ” Astorin recalled, smiling. “And he said, ‘No, I want tea, Teatown, Teatown.’ ”

The arrangement represents “the kind of partnership that we see as being so crucial to land conservation success in today’s economy,” said Susan Babcock, a trustee of the Open Space Institute.

“Teatown is such a beautiful and inspiring place and the programs that you’re doing here for both adults and kids have enhanced our community immeasurably, both Westchester County and beyond,” she said.

The Croft includes the 9-acre Vernay Lake, which lies between Shadow Lake and Teatown Lake in the park. Together, the three lakes drains directly into the Croton Reservoir, owned by New York City and a major source of regional drinking water.

Jenkins, of the Westchester County Board of Legislators, said acquiring The Croft “enhances the quality of life in Westchester County.”

“There can be no doubt that working together … with our public and private partners, we can continue to make this kind of thing [happen],” he said. “Future generations depend on … our steady stewardship.”

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