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CPF Advisory Board assesses 2019 work

Monday morning the Community Preservation Fund Advisory Board looked back at past achievements and frustrations in 2019, and ahead for direction in 2020.

Among the projects planned for next year is an acquisition by Peconic Land Trust (PLT) of 6.07 acres at Ned’s Lane that would then be sold to the town. The agreement worked out between the town and PLT would end up costing the town 25% of the purchase price, CPF Board President Gordon Gooding said.

The property is currently owned by Edward Smyth; a public hearing on the agreement is slated for Friday at 4:52 p.m. at Town Hall.

Mr. Gooding provided coffee, pastries and sparkling cider to toast achievements in 2019, noting that the highlight of the year had been the late November dedication of the Mildred Flower Hird Preserve, honoring Ms. Hird’s daughter, Esther Hunt, and her extended family for making the acreage available for hiking and not a housing development.

“That was my high,” Mr. Gooding said.

Other projects that moved ahead have been the development of a stewardship project for the Turkem’s Rest Preserve; clearing of the opening to the Lima Bean Fields with the assistance of Shelter Island Trails Club members; work at property on recently acquired at Congdons Creek; development of a relationship with Peconic Land Trust that has brought money and expertise to acquisitions; and enhanced relationships with the Suffolk County Department of Parks and Recreation.

On the down side, Mr. Gooding’s frustration has been at the slow pace of acquiring land to preserve .

“It can be painful,” he said.

At the same time, he praised previous CPF Advisory Board members who have preserved many acres of property. “We’re on the right track,” Mr. Gooding said. “We still have a lot of work to do.”

Member Mike Laspia said it proved to be a good move for the committee to hire outside counsel to assist with acquisitions. Ed Shillingburg said he was pleased with signage that has marked so many of the preserved sites.

Councilman Albert Dickson, the Town Board’s liaison, offered praise of the committee for its contributions to the effort to preserve land.

“You really grabbed things by the horn,” Mr. Dickson said.

Members, in turn praised Mr. Dickson for his support.