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$526,200 in DEC, Greenway grants coming to town
√ Broderick expects town to close on Camp Stonehaven purchase ‘in a couple of weeks’
By Terry Duffy
Monday’s Lewiston Town Board session included some welcome news on the town’s latest green space acquisition – Camp Stonehaven.
As reported in the Tribune-Sentinel earlier this year, Supervisor Steve Broderick announced an agreement with the Western New York Land Conservancy to purchase Camp Stonehaven, a 66.9-acre, former Boy Scout campground located adjacent to Bonds Lake at Simmons and Albright roads. The cost of the land acquisition is $665,000, which includes tractor equipment.
Broderick said no recreational improvements – playgrounds, pavilions or the like – are planned.
“It will be a low-maintenance nature preserve, similar to those in the Town of Lockport,” he said. “We’re excited about it. Basically, it will be a nature preserve, open to the public.”
Broderick said the former camp includes a 5-acre lake, plus some older cabins and pavilions the town expects to take down. He envisioned Stonehaven to be open for public use in the near future.
“This will be a legacy project for this particular board, to get it in perpetuity,” Broderick said. “We’re excited about it.”
Broderick said the town has been busy pursuing grant funding to cover a significant portion of its cost.
On Monday, thanks to the town’s work with state and local agencies, including the Department of Environmental Conservation and the Niagara River Greenway Commission, Broderick said Lewiston was able to obtain a total of $526,200 in grant money that will go toward the purchase.
“As part of the Town of Lewiston acquiring Stonehaven Camp, we qualified for $300,000 in a DEC grant,” Broderick said. “This grant went across New York state; it was a total of $1 million. We got the lion’s share of it at $300,000.
“Because of that, we had several hoops we had to jump through to get the grant. One of them is a Forest Management Plan. I talked with all our board members, and what we need to do is approve the Forest Management Plan … as presented and the supervisor to sign it.”
On a motion by Councilman Bill Geiben, seconded by member Rob Morreale, the plan was unanimously approved by the board.
According to DEC, the Forest Management Plan, “Is not just about the trees. It encompasses all the resources on your property – roads, water sources, wildlife habitat, recreational sites, and anything else that is relevant to your family and your goals.”
Broderick said the document reflects the town’s wishes of having Camp Stonehaven as a forever-wild tract in perpetuity.
“The intention of this board and future boards, because of this agreement and some of these grants, is to maintain it as a preserve, so people can walk it, spend some time out there,” he said.
In addition to the DEC grant, Broderick said the town was able to acquire a Greenway ecological grant of $226,200.
“The Greenway ecological (grant funding) is above and beyond our Greenway money that we get annually. So, this is extra money,” he said. “This has nothing to do with our Town of Lewiston Greenway money. So, the total is $526,200 of grant money that we would not have received on a park we purchased for $665,000.”
Factoring in the aforementioned tractor, valued at $35,000 to $40,000, “This means the town paid $138,800 for the park,” Broderick said. “That brings the town’s commitment to the park, a 66.9-acre parcel of land, to $100,000 even – which I think was an opportunity that the town was able to obtain, that we all should be proud of.”
Broderick said the town anticipates closing on the Camp Stonehaven purchase “in the next couple of weeks.”
“When we do, we’ll have a ribbon-cutting and invite the public out to take a look at it,” he said. “I’ve been getting a lot of phone calls (from the public) about when they can come out and walk it. It’s not our property yet, so I would discourage anyone from going out there. But good things come to those who wait. So, hopefully soon.”
Geiben extended his praise on the town’s success in securing the two grants. Of Camp Stonehaven, he commented, “It will be with the Town of Lewiston for the long run, this forever-green area.”
“We look forward to it,” Broderick said. “We haven’t named all our parks yet, but this park will be (known as) the Town of Lewiston Stonehaven Preserve. There’s a chance we could tie it in with Bonds Lake. …
“GESC (the Greenway Ecological Standing Committee) told us they want to work with us on the park; so, any type of ecological projects we have out there, we can reach out to them for more Greenway money. And we also have town Greenway money if we ever want to.
“But our intention, our full board’s intention, this whole process was to make it a natural preserve” for the community to enjoy.
“It will even be available to the Boy Scouts for daytime activities, like the Klondike Race. But there will be no overnight camping. But I think it will be a real asset for the Town of Lewiston.
“I thank the board for supporting me and you should take credit for this, as well, because it was a great project.”