Another key initiative is open space conservation, historic preservation and agriculture. To date, my administration has been able to dedicate more than 372 acres for conservation, environmental remediation or agriculture. The administration, in partnership with the County Legislature, has moved to protect open space for agriculture and public recreation use. The county recently transferred two parcels of land to the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy for incorporation into the Winn Preserve in Knox. Similarly the county conveyed 106 acres of land in Knox for Saddlemire Farms to preserve its use for dairy farming. My office is currently working to complete the transfer of two parcels of land adjacent to the Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission that would add 23 acres to the preserve. There is a possibility that the acreage will need environmental remediation.
There are several other parcel transfers either in process or complete and I look forward to working with the community to meet my goal of conserving more than 3,500 acres. This benefits everyone as we work to keep our community scenic, healthy and green.
One success story is the Helderberg Hudson Rail Trail, which now spans from Voorheesville to Bethlehem, more than half of which is open to the public. The rail trail hit another milestone in December when a new three-mile section of the project was officially opened to the public. The progress we’ve made together is impressive and with the recent announcement of an additional $1 million in funding, we will be able to begin work on the trail from Bethlehem to Albany.
Collectively, these initiatives will have a measurable impact and help make Albany County the greenest county in New York State.