NEW CITY, NY – Rockland County Executive Ed Day today signed an agreement providing funds to restore the historic New World Dutch barn at the Cropsey Farm property.
“This action will preserve an important part of Rockland’s agriculture past and provide for the County’s environmental and recreational future,” he said as he signed the measure at Cropsey Farm, a 25-acre parcel off South Little Tor Road.
He was joined by Clarkstown Supervisor George Hoehmann, Councilmen Frank Borelli and Dan Caprara as well as Rockland County Legislator Harriet Cornell, Allan Beers, director of the Rockland County Division of Environmental Resources, Robert Gruffi, Rockland County director of Facilities Management and John McDowell, president of the Rockland Farm Alliance.
The agreement calls for $1 million in funding to restore the Revolutionary War-era barn.
Clarkstown will pay $390,000 of the cost, with the county covering the rest in the 2017 Capital Projects budget.
Rockland County and Clarkstown formed a partnership to buy the property from the Cropsey family in 2006 with the understanding that it would be preserved for open space and protected from development. The County has 61 percent ownership and Clarkstown has 39 percent.
“Not that long ago there were farms and barns all over Rockland as most people made their living from the land,” the County Executive said. “Now we have to make an effort to preserve what is left of our agricultural past and safeguard undeveloped land for the future.”
The Rockland Farm Alliance has been using part of the Cropsey property to bring it back to its roots: farming. Residents from all over the county take part in the community farm run by the Alliance.
There are numerous activities at the property that teach residents about Rockland’s farming past and show how agriculture can be an important part of the future.
Farm Alliance President John McDowell thanked the County Executive for making the barn renovation possible.
The barn has been in continual use until just a few years ago and the farmers look forward to using it again, he said.
The first step of the renovation involves erecting a high tunnel similar to a greenhouse to use as a temporary barn.
After the barn restoration is completed the equipment in the temporary barn will go into the new barn and the temporary barn will be used to grow produce.
(photo: John McDowell, George Hoehmann, Dan Caprara, Ed Day, Frank Borelli, Harriet Cornell, Allan Beers)