|The Angle Fly Brook bisects the preserve and flows into the
Croton Reservoir system.
Angle Fly Preserve
Primrose Street, Somers
The formal opening of the Angle Fly Preserve is set for 10 a.m. Saturday, October 3, rain or shine, at the preserve entrance on Route 139, Somers. A tour of the property and a hike along a new 1.8-mile trail is included. firstname.lastname@example.org
Back in 2005, when a 104-unit subdivision proposed for 654 acres in the heart of town was seemingly headed for approval, the residents of Somers faced a choice.
Did they want another big housing development or did they want to try what at the time seemed all but impossible - buying the land and preserving it?
They chose the latter, and with Westchester Land Trust acting as lead negotiator, the Town of Somers, New York City, Westchester County and New York State completed the acquisition of the 654-acre property from the developer-owner in May of 2006 for $20.5 million.
Perhaps the largest open space purchase ever in Westchester County, the new Angle Fly Preserve protects drinking water supplies and wildlife habitat, and provides miles of new recreational trails for local, county and state residents.
The Angle Fly - named after the brook that bisects it - is located entirely in the drainage basin of the Muscoot Reservoir of New York City 's Croton Reservoir system.
|This promotional signs show the layout of townhouses that
was once proposed for what is now the Angle Fly Preserve. It
was found on the property after the acquisition was completed.
The City contributed $9.44 million and now owns the westernmost 269 acres. It is being managed by the Department of Environmental Protection as protected watershed land, helping to ensure continued high-quality drinking water for millions of New York City and Westchester County residents.
The Town of Somers and Westchester County contributed $4 million each and jointly own 385 acres. New York State contributed $3.2 million and holds a conservation easement on all but 15 acres of the preserve.
Westchester Land Trust worked diligently to forge the preservation alliance, and also handled much of the negotiations and preparation for closing.
|A team of experts is working on a management plan
that will balance public use of the trails and protection
of the environment.
The Angle Fly Preserve protects a key section of the Croton watershed, 140 acres of federal, state and local wetlands, and a vast wildlife habitat of countywide significance. It provides miles of new hiking trails and the potential for trail linkages to the county's Lasdon Park and elsewhere.
Encompassing three percent of the total area of Somers, the preserve also protects a tract of land that is essential to the town's character.
A small portion of the Angle Fly may also be used for recreational fields, which can be built on a specific small portion of part of the property jointly owned by the town and the county.
Those fields would be owned jointly by the Town of Somers and Westchester County. Somers is responsible for managing the entire jointly-owned portion, and town residents would have first rights to use the recreational fields, with county residents having access at other times.
The town also owns 15 acres, on which it is considering building a community center.
"This open space preservation acquisition is a huge step toward assuring that Somers remains a beautiful and livable community and can only be described as a dream come true," said Town Supervisor Mary Beth Murphy. "Not only is the size of the property unique but the extraordinary partnership of four levels of government and a not-for-profit banding together to accomplish this incredible win for the environment and our water supply is itself extraordinary."
Westchester County Executive Andrew Spano said: "This is an extraordinary piece of property and its purchase opens up hundreds of acres for hiking and fishing and provides direct links to nearby Westchester parks. More important, it will be preserved and not carved up for luxury homes, as had been proposed. I am very proud that under my Legacy Program, Westchester County has been able to purchase more than 2,000 acres for open space. I congratulate all the organizations that worked very diligently on this long-sought prize including County Legislator Mike Kaplowitz."
Negotiations started in 2004 after the Town hired Westchester Land Trust to work on the acquisition. The Land Trust worked with town residents to come up with a plan for the property, assisted with negotiating the deal with the owners' representatives, and helped build the coalition necessary to complete the transaction.
"The partners aimed extraordinarily high on this, and then worked hard to achieve that goal - we couldn't be more pleased and proud to be a part of it," said Westchester Land Trust Executive Director Paul Gallay. "This is a great achievement for residents of Somers and the county, as well as for the state and the city."