Westchester Land Trust (WLT) and the City of Peekskill have announced the permanent protection of a scenic viewshed property in Peekskill, overlooking the Hudson River, Hudson Highlands, and City of Peekskill. Located on Crompond Road, the City prioritized this property for preservation nearly 15 years ago. WLT now holds a conservation easement on the land, which will ensure it remains public open space in perpetuity. The City owns the land and will manage its natural resource and public access plans.
“The preservation of this property ensures that a beautiful view of the City of Peekskill and scenic Hudson River will be preserved forever,” said Kara Whelan, president of Westchester Land Trust. “We’re glad that WLT was able to utilize private donations to contribute the entire purchase price to the City, enabling it to acquire the land from the former owner. We appreciate the Peekskill residents who advocated for the permanent protection of this land, and the City of Peekskill for working in partnership with us to maintain this special place.”
The property is located half a mile from Peekskill’s center in an area identified by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation as a Potential Environmental Justice Area (PEJA), based on the demographics of the surrounding community. The preservation of this viewshed, plans for future public access to this property, as well as its location within a PEJA, align with WLT’s renewed focus on engaging urban communities and prioritizing land protection in more heavily populated parts of its service area.
“This small area, with its expansive view, was a privately owned park in the ’40s and ’50s,” said Kay Barthelmes, who lives near the property and serves on the Peekskill Conservation Advisory Council. “It was for sale in 2015 so Peekskill’s Conservation Advisory Council contacted Westchester Land Trust to ask for help. That was seven years ago, and WLT’s Lori Ensinger has been unrelenting in her efforts to protect this area since then. The property reveals the city below surrounded by the Hudson Highlands and bordered by the Hudson River, offering one of the finest views in Westchester County.”
The City of Peekskill will determine plans for future public access, as well as potential stewardship strategies to incorporate native plants and pollinator friendly trees, flowers, and shrubs.
“We’re thrilled that this important property will now be protected as open space forever,” said Matthew Alexander, city manager for the City of Peekskill. “We look forward to exploring the best ways to restore this land so it can be enjoyed by the people of Peekskill and benefit local plants and wildlife.”