By Bera Dunau STAFF WRITER
---- — The Otsego Land Trust announced Monday that it had successfully matched its Historic Byways Grant for renovations to its Brookwood Point property, and will now have $250,000 for renovations to the park.
The $188,000 grant, which the property received from the Department of Transportation early this year, had to be matched by November. It was a three-to-one match, meaning the Trust had to raise $62,000 to receive the rest of the money.
Brookwood Point, which is on state Route 80, qualified for the grant because state Route 20 is designated a historic highway and the property is close enough to Route 20 to be considered an offshoot.
The property consists of 22 acres of land on the western shores of Otsego Lake. It includes a garden, maintained by volunteers, a small cottage and a larger house. The property is open to the public at all times, although the same is not true for the structures.
The Otsego Land Trust began managing the property in October 2011, after merging with the Cook Foundation, the property’s previous manager. It is the Otsego Land Trust’s only lake access property on Otsego Lake.
Otsego Land Trust board members, contributors to the campaign, Assemblyman Bill Magee, D-Nelson, and Cooperstown Mayor Jeff Katz were among those at the announcement, which was held at the site despite the stormy weather.
Representatives from Rep. Christopher Gibson’s, R-Kinderhook, and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s, D-N.Y., offices had been scheduled to attend, but were unable due to the federal government shutdown. Rep. Gibson sent a letter of congratulations to the land trust thanking them for the invite.
Harry Levine, chairman of the Otsego Land Trust Board of Directors, spoke at the announcement and said that the renovations would include improving the property’s entrance, parking and road, with the goal of increasing public use and awareness of Brookwood Point
“The more public use we get, we hope the more support we get,” said Levine, hoping that the upcoming renovations would set the groundwork for future improvements.
The additional money was raised from businesses, nonprofits, and donations from private individuals. Work on the property is planned for spring of next year, with the hope that it will be finished by summer.
“While Otsego Land Trust is a small organization, we’ve done some big things,” said board member Joseph Homburger, who also thanked the organizations volunteers.
Katz noted that as a local and regional attraction, Brookwood Point had a lot to offer.
“This is something that’s virtually untapped,” he said.
Levine said that the land trust would like to see larger and more frequent events at Brookwood Point as a result of the renovations.
“It’s (the property’s) got a lot of potential,” said Levine.
The Otsego Land Trust will be holding a Brookwood Point Fall Clean Up Day on Nov. 2. Lunch will be provided, but those wishing to volunteer should register ahead of time by calling 607-547-2366 or by emailing Marcie@otsegolandtrust.org.