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$150,000 in Challenge Gifts for Mill Road Scenic Overlook | Environment

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$150,000 in Challenge Gifts for Mill Road Scenic Overlook
$150,000 in Challenge Gifts for Mill Road Scenic Overlook

The Friends of Mill Road, the Western New York Land Conservancy and the Town of Aurora are very pleased to announce that they have received two challenge gifts for a total of $150,000. Town Supervisor Jolene Jeffe stated, “We are so incredibly grateful to these two families for their leadership contributions that will create a community asset with extraordinary benefits for our entire region. We know that the overlook will enhance the economic vibrancy of our community and the health and enjoyment of our children and families by providing a new place to experience this incredible view.” 

Scott Bieler and Kathy Lasher are contributing $100,000 and Gerhard and Ellen Neumaier are contributing $50,000 to the campaign. These contributions are matching gifts so they will be added to the campaign total as additional matching gifts are received from other members of the community.  

The total dollar amount needed to preserve the 60 acres on Mill Road in East Aurora, create a scenic overlook for public access and place a conservation easement on the property is $640,000. This will ensure that future generations can enjoy this unique and beautiful open space.   

According to Friends of Mill Road Co-Chair and Western New York Land Conservancy Executive Director Nancy Smith, “These matching contributions are not only incredibly generous but they will also be transformative for the campaign. These gifts bring our total to $416,000 of the $640,000 that we need to complete the project by December of 2013. We are asking members of the community to step forward to match the generosity of these two families to secure this community resource.”

Scott Bieler, president of West Herr, believes that, “This is one of the most unique and important properties for preservation in all of Western New York. Our investment now will hopefully encourage others to join us in leaving this legacy for our children and grandchildren.”  

Friends of Mill Road Co-chair Kathy Lasher explained that the Mill Road landowners have generously extended their purchase contract with the Town of Aurora to December 31, 2013. The community has until that date to finalize the project. Lasher believes that the economic benefits of this project make the case for preservation compelling. “We know that the quality of life benefits provided by this project will make our community a more attractive destination for homeowners, business and visitors.”

Gerhard Neumaier, chairman of Ecology & Environment, Inc., shared that his “travels in China reinforce the critical importance of saving our most treasured open space resources. If they are not permanently protected it is only a matter of time until this wildlife habitat and the opportunity for public access will disappear. This project provides a long-term benefit.”  

Ellen Neumaier, a member of the Friends of Mill Road emphasized that “This project is visionary. We need to do this NOW because others before us have done this for us. When I visit a park or a nature preserve I know that someone else worked hard to make that happen. Now it is our turn. As a child my family spent a great deal of time in parks; we did this with our own children. Being able to explore the many facets of ‘outdoors’ gave us a lifelong love and understanding for nature. We want this to be available for the next generation.”

To make a contribution that will be matched dollar for dollar by these challenge gifts or for more information about the Mill Road Scenic Overlook, please visit www.friendsofmillroad.org or contact Nancy Smith at 432-1777 or nancyrs@wnylc.org or Kathy Lasher at 861-5498 or klasher@buffalo.com.

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.


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