Historic Waterfront on Cutchogue Harbor is One Step Closer to Becoming Community Resource
Community group secures 3.4 acres on Long Island's North Fork with funding from private, public and national groups.
SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. (Dec. 17, 2010) – The Peconic Land Trust and the New Suffolk Waterfront Fund (NSWF) announced today the completion of a three-year agreement in which the NSWF has assumed ownership of a 3.4-acre property on Peconic Bay National Estuary in the Hamlet of New Suffolk. The acquired parcel, which offers a sweeping view of Cutchogue Harbor and Robins Island, will become a place for recreational and cultural activities and waterfront access.
Once home to a busy port, a flourishing shellfish industry and site trials for the U.S. Navy's first submarine, the New Suffolk waterfront has been a vibrant landscape for more than 200 years. When the property was targeted by developers to be converted into residential and heavy commercial use, the community rallied. In 2005, a group of concerned citizens established a 501(c)(3) organization, the NSWF, to purchase the property themselves in order to preserve it for the benefit of the community and future generations. To assist the fledgling organization, the Peconic Land Trust drew from its own revolving fund and other Trust assets to acquire the parcel in December 2007 and give the newly formed NSWF time to raise money for the property's purchase.
The NSWF and the Trust intend to place a conservation easement on the property which would require a substantial portion of the land be set aside as open space for the community. The NSWF is currently looking for investment partners to help them design and create a sustainable public space that preserves the area's historic heritage and scenic beauty while providing educational, recreational and commercial opportunities.
The NSWF has received gifts from over 500 individual donors as well as generous support from Louis Bacon and The Moore Charitable Foundation, the Laura P. Winship Fund at the San Diego Foundation, the Long Island Community Foundation and Group for the East End. Bridge financing was provided by The Conservation Fund, a national non-profit organization, through their Land Trust Loan Program.
"The New Suffolk waterfront has the potential to become again the heart of the community," said Barbara Schnitzler, Chair of the NSWF. "We hope that the community and others will stand strong with us as we launch our second phase of fundraising to appropriately develop this property over the next few years."
"We are very pleased that we have been able to assist the community in realizing a dream to protect this waterfront, long a source of community pride and interest, and to make it available to them while they undertook a fundraising initiative. We wish the New Suffolk Waterfront Fund all the best as they take on the next phase of life for this important, historic property," said Trust Vice President Tim Caufield.
"Like so many of our local land trust partners around the country, the Peconic Land Trust and the New Suffolk Waterfront Fund are doing amazing work," said Reggie Hall, manager of The Conservation Fund's Land Trust Loan Program. "Being an all volunteer organization, the New Suffolk Waterfront Fund and the level of commitment that their board and supporters have exhibited is truly inspiring! The Conservation Fund is fortunate to call both organizations partners."
New Suffolk Waterfront Fund, (631) 566-0806
Yvette DeBow, Peconic Land Trust, (631) 283-3195
Ann Barrett, The Conservation Fund, (703) 908-5809