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Town of Greenport to celebrate opening of town park acquired from Open Space Institute for $1

GREENPORT, NY - September 3, 2003 - The Town of Greenport, Columbia County, will celebrate the grand opening of the Greenport Town Park in a public ceremony at 11:15 a.m. The Open Space Institute sold the 30-acre park to the town in February for $1. 

The town of Greenport has made several improvements to the park, including two ball fields, a pavilion, and a picnic area. “The park has been a terrific addition to the town and the residents are very thankful for it,” said town supervisor, John Rutkey. “This year we held our summer recreation program at the park for the first time and attendance was excellent—on average about 120 kids a day,” continued Rutkey. Saturday's events, said Rutkey, will coincide with Greenport's annual celebration of community day. 

The Greenport Town Park was created on a portion of the larger Greenport Conservation Area, a picturesque landscape comprised of approximately 650 acres of protected land located along the shores of the Hudson River. The conservation area was first established in 1992 when the Open Space Institute, the Columbia Land Conservancy and the Town of Greenport teamed up to acquire and protect 266 acres of meadows, rolling hills, and wetlands. In three subsequent transactions, the Open Space Institute purchased an additional 391 acres. 

“Originally targeted for development and subdivision, the Greenport Conservation Area is a stunning preserve that combines views of the Hudson River and the Catskill Mountains, large open meadows, and a highly productive freshwater tidal marsh that is teeming with birds and other wildlife,” said Joe Martens, president of the Open Space Institute. “The Greenport Conservation Area is a great example of public and private partners ensuring the long-term protection of irreplaceable landscapes,” added Martens. OSI's acquisition of the 657-acre park would not have been possible had it not been for a series of negotiations with a residential developer who planned to build on what is now the Greenport Conservation Area. “In the end, we were able to convince the developer that everyone involved would benefit if the plans were scaled back to allow for a protected area,” said Martens. 

"This is a great opportunity for the Town of Greenport to gain much need recreational facilities. The Columbia Land Conservancy is pleased to be working with the Town to design a link between their new park and the adjoining Greenport Conservation Area, which provides additional recreational opportunities and wildlife habitat," stated Judy Anderson, executive director of the Columbia Land Conservancy. Over the past few years, the Conservancy has provided the Town of Greenport with free design services related to siting of structures and facilities at the park. 

The Columbia Land Conservancy manages the Greenport Conservation Area on behalf of the Open Space Institute for biologic diversity and provides environmental education and recreational opportunities to the public free of charge. “The estuarine wetland attracts over a hundred species of birds, making it a favorite spot for birders. There's also a stunning ridge trail with panoramic views of the Hudson River,” said Anderson. 

The Greenport Conservation Area is open 365 days a year, from dawn until dusk. “The preserve is a real blessing to the town of Greenport,” said Alan Mueller, who was town supervisor when the Greenport Conservation Area was first established. “The people here are very grateful that this scenic landscape has been preserved,” added Mueller. 

Directions: The Greenport Conservation Area is one mile north of Hudson. The entrance is located off of Joslen Boulevard at the end of Daisy Hill Lane.

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