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March 14, 2013

Crucial year for Brookwood Point

Trust needs matching funds for Historic Byways grant

It is a crucial year for Brookwood Point and its new owner, the Otsego Land Trust.

That’s the message the trust’s chair Harry Levine delivered to a room full of supporters Saturday at Templeton Hall.

In its first year of ownership of the 22-acre Otsego Lake property on state ,Route 80, the trust secured a big loan and the property had a surprising budget surplus. But Levine said 2013 is the year it will be determined whether the trust should be the long-term owner of the land.

“Those who know the Land Trust know we are a very small organization,” he said. “We have limited resources. We can’t maintain a property like this ourselves. But we are pretty good at leading others to maintain a property like this.

“No matter how much we like the property,” he continued. “If it can’t be in financial balance, we have to take a hard look at whether we should be the owners, and if we are not the owners, what we should do about it.”

From 1986 until 2011, Brookwood Point belonged to the Cook Foundation, which was set up by former owners Harry Cook and his son, Bob.

“Unfortunately, it didn’t come along with financial resources,” Levine said. “Until the merger, the foundation had struggled financially with trying to figure out how to maintain the property for the public benefit.”

In the midst of assessing what areas needed to be priorities, the trust applied for and received a Historic Byways grant for $188,000, which is designated for signage, secure access to the property and bridge work. The grant is a three-to-one match, meaning it can’t be used until the trust raises $62,000.

“Route 20 is a historic byway, and the extension down Route 80 qualifies as an extension of the historic byway,” Levine said. “We’re tremendously lucky in that it is not a one-for-one match or a one-for-two match. We only have to match one for three.”

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