The view from a 60-acre farmstead along Mill Road overlooking the hilly terrain just outside the Village of East Aurora is breathtaking. That’s why preservationists are adamant about trying to preserve the vista and turn it into an overlook.
But the cost of doing so also is breathtaking – $630,000 – and the Friends of Mill Road need more time to raise money.
Originally, plans called for the land to have been purchased by the end of this month, but the Aurora Town Board voted Thursday to allow a one-year contract extension on the land through 2013.
“We needed more time to continue fundraising,” Kathy Lasher, co-chairwoman of the citizens group, told The Buffalo News this week.
The property, known among locals for its tremendous views during all four seasons, sits along Mill between Sweet and Blakely roads. It contains a 180-degree panoramic view to the west, and on a clear day, downtown Buffalo is visible. The ridges that can be seen lead to Knox Farm State Park, and the Mill Road land can be viewed from the park.
Last year, the friends group launched an ambitious capital campaign so that the town can buy the land, but it still needs to raise about two-thirds of the money to acquire the land from two families, build the overlook and negotiate a conservation easement so that it is protected from any development in perpetuity.
The owners of the property – the Closs and Sievenpiper families – are each willing to sell individual portions of their acreage that would total a combined 60 acres.
The families were willing to allow a one-year contract extension to see if the plan could be worked out if enough money is raised.
So far, $220,000 has been raised out of the $630,000 needed for the project.
The group had hoped to be awarded $279,000 in grant money through the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation but has not been successful in that effort.
The plan is for the town to use the money raised to purchase the 60 acres and thereby own it.
A conservation easement that would be held by the Western New York Land Conservancy would be negotiated to ensure the long-term preservation of the property.