County Executive’s Corner: Preserving Our History

By County Executive Ed Day

This week we marked a momentous occasion; we cut the ribbon on a beautifully restored 223-year-old barn at the Cropsey Farm property in New City. The New World Dutch Barn was built in 1796 and is a wonderful example of the Dutch architecture of the time. This is a piece of Rockland’s history that, together with the Town of Clarkstown, we are preserving for future generations and saving from being developed.

Not that long ago there were farms and barns all over Rockland as most people made their living from the land. Back in 2006 Rockland County partnered with the Town to take ownership of the Cropsey property in order to preserve it as open space with the County owning 61 percent and the Town 39 percent.

This is the type of investment I am committed to continuing as we move forward in a way that not only preserves our natural environment for future generations but does so in a way that is fiscally responsible and fair to taxpayers. The restoration cost $1.55 million with Clarkstown contributing $604,000 and the rest coming from our Capital Projects Budget.

The Rockland Farm Alliance will use the barn in their CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) and education efforts. They are working to teach local children about our history of farming and building understanding that food DOES NOT come from the grocery store. Kids can get their hands dirty by planting, harvesting and bug hunting; they will gain a true understanding of sustainable farming right here in Rockland.

Since 2017 Cropsey Farm has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places; our investment in this renovation will ensure that future generations of Rocklanders can visit this property and get a glimpse into a period of time that is long past. Having this barn restored and up and running again soon will allow the Farm Alliance to continue their sustainable farming projects and give residents the chance to eat food that is once again being grown right here in Rockland.

And while this barn is beautiful and I am incredibly proud of our efforts to preserve it we cannot stop here. We must continue to make an effort to preserve what is left of our agricultural past and safeguard undeveloped land for the future. I urge everyone to come explore the barn at the Rockland Farm Alliance open house on Sunday, November 24, 2019, from 11 am to 3 pm.