Monroe resident dedicates 26 acres to open spaces

| 21 Feb 2012 | 10:58

    MONRO-Monroe resident Georgina Dupcak has sold the historic 26-acre Monroe Trotting track to the Village of Monroe, except for a three-acre parcel, which was sold to the Cornerstone Masonic Historical Society, owners of McGarrah's Inn on Stage Road. The deal, which was finalized March 18 but made public this week, means the entire parcel is protected from development by a Conservation Easement overseen by the Orange County Land Trust. Approximately 23 acres of the property was purchased by the Village of Monroe, partly through a federal grant administered by the New York State Department of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. A three-acre parcel adjoining McGarrah's Inn on the corner of Stage and Maple roads was sold to the Cornerstone Masonic Historical Society, owners of the Inn. The Historical Society is in the process of renovating the early 1800's stagecoach inn as a museum and public gathering place dedicated to preserving the history of Monroe and the contributions of the Masons to the community. The Inn is a National Historic Landmark housing a Masonic Lodge where the Masons gathered from about 1800 to 1816. "Our goals include preserving the history of Monroe," said Claude Horstmann, president of the Historical Society Board of Trustees. "Part of that includes preserving the character of the community. Maintaining the property behind McGarrah's Inn as open space dovetails nicely with our goals, and the addition of three acres on the edge of that park will enable us to establish outdoor exhibits that people in the park can enjoy." The use of the property as open space dedicated to the public use will be ensured by a conservation agreement the purchasers entered into with Orange County Land Trust as part of the property transfer. The agreement guarantees the property will be kept open for public use forever. Orange County Land Trust, working with landowners, has protected more than 2,300 acres of environmentally sensitive land and waterways throughout the county, including 5 preserves that are open for public enjoyment. "Maintaining open, natural lands is an important part of smart economic growth," said Dr. Douglas F. McBride, Land Trust president, "and it also contributes to an environment that protects our health and quality of