SELKIRK — Proposition 2, the subject of much online clamoring, was approved by Bethlehem residents by a 61-39 percent margin on Tuesday, Nov. 8.
The Town now has the green light to purchase 307 acres land with $3 million coming from various municipal funds, avoiding a municipal bond or any additional taxes. The aggregate value of the nine parcels was appraised at $4,032,500 in February by Schecter Valuation Services, LLC, a company commissioned by the Town.
Among the nine parcels in consideration is the historic Heath’s Dairy Farm on the northeast corner of Route 9W and Wemple Road. The family farm once provided a farm store and home milk delivery since it first opened for business in 1920. Before closing in 1987, area school children would visit the farm as a lesson to learn where their milk comes from. Town records confirmed that the surrounding fields have been used for agriculture since the Revolutionary War, but it’s believed the lands have been farmed for quite longer.
One of two 11-acre lots along Wemple Road would connect to an 8-acre piece of landlocked property the Town purchased in 2019. This would halt further development from occurring along the southern corner of Wemple Road, west of Route 9W. Construction on a 96-unit multifamily development is underway just across the street.
The largest of the parcels includes a 122-acre lot adjacent to the Van Rensselaer Forest Wildlife Preserve managed by the First Reformed Dutch Church of Bethlehem on Route 9W, extending east beyond the New York state Thruway.