Now in their final 90 days of fundraising, The Friends of Mill Road are excited to announce two additional major gifts, propelling the project closer to a successful finish before its Dec. 31 deadline.
Since a $150,000 matching challenge was announced in May, the Friends group has made significant progress. The project was awarded a $20,000 grant from the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo. The Community Foundation will be recognized with one of five benches to be placed at the overlook site. The project still has one bench available as a naming opportunity at the $20,000 level. The project also received a $50,000 contribution from an anonymous private donor, a $15,000 contribution from a second donor and over 50 individual contributions bringing the current total for the match to $112,000.
According to Friends of Mill Road co-chair Nancy Smith, “We are immensely gratified by the support we have received since announcing the matching challenge and we are counting on members of the community to help us close the gap to complete the purchase of the land by year’s end.”
The total dollar amount needed to purchase the 60 acres on Mill Road in East Aurora, permanently protect it with a conservation easement and create a scenic overlook for public access, is $650,000. Thus far, the Friends have raised over $500,000 for the project. Project partners include the Town of Aurora, the Western New York Land Conservancy and the Friends of Mill Road.
Friends of Mill Road co-chair Kathy Lasher explains that, “The creation of the Mill Road Scenic Overlook will have lasting economic and quality of life benefits, ensuring that future generations can enjoy this unique and beautiful open space. As one of the most scenic points of interest on the newly created Western New York Southtowns Scenic Byway, the Mill Road Scenic Overlook will enhance local tourism and support local businesses.”
Recent research underscores how investments in land conservation and open space support local businesses, boost property values, save taxpayer dollars and protect public health. A study released in February by the Trust for Public Land found that every dollar of investment from New York’s Environmental Protection Fund generates seven dollars in additional economic benefits from tourism, reduced government costs and public health. A 2010 report on open space from the New York State Comptroller also highlighted the economic benefits of open space protection and the benefits for preserving clean air and water resources and creating outdoor recreational opportunities close to home.
The Friends of Mill Road is a citizens’ group formed in 2010 to raise the funds needed to protect the Mill Road Scenic Overlook. For more information about the Friends of Mill Road or to make a donation, please visit www.friendsofmillroad.org or contact Nancy Smith at 432-1777 or email@example.com, or Kathy Lasher at 861-5498 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Western New York Land Conservancy is a not-for-profit land trust that protects over 5,000 acres of land including scenic vistas, forested lands, fragile natural ecosystems, lakefront shorelines and working farms across the eight counties of Western New York. For more information on upcoming events, volunteer opportunities or the mission of the Western New York Land Conservancy, please call 687-1225 or visit www.wnylc.org.