Letter: Consider donating toward acquisition of Spruce Acres
To the editor:
The citizens of Aquidneck Island are coming together to help save another key parcel of land to maintain our island’s character, ecology, quality of life and economy.
Roughly a year ago, the Aquidneck Land Trust began working with the Deveau family to preserve Spruce Acres Farm, a centrally located property on the Middletown/Portsmouth line. The brilliant and rich 23-acre parcel abuts other conserved properties and is part of the Sisson Pond watershed, an important water source for the island.
If conserved, it would enlarge the Center Island Greenway, a protected corridor of habitat and farmland, and provide two miles of nature trails and other open space assets to our community.
ALT has received a one-time extension to the original date of March 31, 2017 to purchase Spruce Acres and now has until June 30 to achieve this goal. Over $1.6 million has been raised toward the $2.1 million needed to permanently conserve the property.
Individual donors have given over $700,000, and the Rhode Island Agricultural Preservation Commission and the towns of Middletown and Portsmouth have each given $300,000. Thanks to three local donors, the EJMP Fund for Philanthropy, BankNewport and Bafflin Foundations, ALT has created a $100,000 challenge grant to encourage all community members to contribute. Support for this challenge is strong; over $17,000 was raised in the first 48 hours.
We need your help saving the island we love. The time is now and the need is urgent; we must raise the remaining money — nearly $500,000 — in less than four months. Once a farm is developed it will never again be a farm; once a watershed is compromised, the community pays the price forever.
In a time when distractions grow by the hour, publicly accessible land of this quality is a true community asset. All island residents and visitors will all have this natural habitat to enjoy. I ask all of my island friends and neighbors to consider making a donation to save Spruce Acres Farm — every gift matters and will move us closer to this worthy goal. Thank you.
Chairman, Board of Trustees
Aquidneck Land Trust