BETHLEHEM, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The town of Bethlehem is purchasing over 300 acres of historic farmland. The Town Board said that this represents a first step in protecting two farms operating in the town since the Revolutionary War.
The seller, Milltowne Plaza, Inc., agreed to sell the lands for $3 million, even though they were appraised at $4 million. Town officials said they will draw $2 million from their Farms and Forests Fund to cover two-thirds of the purchase. The remaining funds will come from capital accounts, according to officials.
Led by Supervisor David VanLuven, Bethlehem has been working on this purchase for three years. Town leaders said they believe that the conservation of historic farmlands is good for the community and protects the environment, and that the public pushed for preserving green spaces at every meeting.
Eight of the nine parcels that the town will buy are currently actively farmed, and they intend to continue the tradition. The town historian has traced farming in the historic Heath Dairy Farm back 250 years and believes the land has been cultivated even longer.