GLENMONT – The next phase of what to do with farmland the Town of Bethlehem purchased last year began on Thursday, June 15.
Officials gathered at the former Heath Farm on the corner of Wemple Road and Route 9W to announce the formation of a committee to decide future use of the 307 acres of farmland in Glenmont and Selkirk.
“Farms are part of Bethlehem’s culture and landscape,” Bethlehem Town Supervisor David VanLuven said. “We are committed to working in partnership with interested landowners to keep our farms growing crops and food rather than subdivisions, and I am so proud of the work of our great town staff and the commitment of the Town Board to keep these lands in agriculture for another 250 years.”
According to VanLuven, the purchase of the property was the most important step and now the town needs to decide what to do with it. The town is asking residents to visit the initiative online at historicheathfarm.com, delve into the storymap and participate in the community visioning phase.
When the town proposed the purchase of the property this year after Bethlehem voters approved the sale through a referendum in November, it was to remove the possibility that the land could be developed, but the plan of how it will be used has just started. While some of the property may be sold for agricultural use without development rights to offset the town’s financial investment, the best use of the former Heath Dairy property with its historic barn and silo is up front in the discussion.
“The Historic Health Farm Initiative is going to be an incredible anchor destination for Albany County’s growing agritourism industry. Discover Albany is witnessing first hand that the current generation of travelers are actively searching for sustainable travel options, and seek authentic experiences with our local farms,” Maeve McEneny-Johnson, Discover Albany said. “Whether it’s enjoying farm-to-table meals, toasting with friends with local craft beverages, or choosing eco-friendly hotels, Albany County has it, and the Historic Health Farm Initiative will be the perfect jumping off point for the newest eco-minded traveler.”