The sale of Pitney Farm to the Pitney Meadows Community Farm (PMCF) nonprofit group officially closed on December 15th. Numerous supporters, public officials, and the community at large are now looking forward to the future of the farm and the many benefits it’s going to offer the Saratoga area.
“We can now fully embark on creating a large, community-supported farm and agricultural resource center with trails,” Sandy Arnold, President of PMCF, said in a statement. “The programming will be educationally based to bring agricultural appreciation to people of all ages.”
Pitney Farm will be transformed into a teaching and training farm, focusing on educational programs and community-engagement opportunities. There will be a community garden, a children’s garden, a year-round farmers’ hub, a farm apprenticeship program, a commercial kitchen, and so much more.
The day after the sale closed a large celebration took place at Adirondack Trust Company in Saratoga, where dozens came together for hot cider, cookies, and speeches to commemorate this massive accomplishment – some had been looking forward to this day for more than 20 years.
Pitney Farm has been a part of Saratoga’s Open Space plan since 1994, but a prior purchase from Saratoga PLAN ended up not going through. Many have been working hard for a long time to ensure this property is preserved and utilized for years to come.
The key players in making this sale happen were: Michael Kilpatrick; Sandy and Paul Arnold; the PMCF Board of Directors and Advisory Council; attorneys Jerry Cosgrove, Alisa Dalton, and Oksana Ludd; and Mayor Joanne Yepsen.
Yepsen is credited with “embracing the Pitneys’ vision and carefully implementing the requirements of the city’s Open Space Bond Fund, which are documented in the conservation easement.”
The City of Saratoga funded $1.13 million through the purchase of development rights indicated in the conservation easement.
Of course, the Pitney family also played a large role in making the sale and preservation of the property happen – the Pitneys have donated $645,000 of the purchase price.
“We are extremely grateful for the opportunity to help create a vital community resource for generations to come while preserving our family’s history of agriculture and civic responsibility,” Kathy Pitney said in a statement, on behalf of the Pitney family.
PMCF has funded its contribution through private donations and a bridge loan from Adirondack Trust Company. The group’s priority right now is to pay off the loan as quickly as possible and to raise money for the second phase of the project.
Phase Two will focus on making improvements to the site, planting crops on the 90-acre field, getting the community gardens started, initiating educational incentives, and beginning to map trails and paths for activities.