A History of Community Stewardship
The mission of the Cazenovia Preservation Foundation is to “protect historic, agricultural and natural resources in and around Cazenovia for the benefit of the community.” A review of the 43 years of CPF history reveals a rich and interesting history of an organization that has evolved in its fulfillment of this mission as our community has changed.
On January 5, 1967, Cazenovia Preservation Foundation, Inc. was incorporated as a not-for-profit for the express purpose of preserving historic buildings in the Village. For the next 18 years, the organization’s board and volunteers provided education, historic registration, and financial support to enhance the architectural history of the village. CPF published books and pamphlets on the history of Cazenovia and its architecture; took a lead role in working with the Trust for Historic Preservation to catalog, register and protect the architecture of the community; and provided funds for the restoration of highly visible buildings such as the Gothic Cottage, Cazenovia College Theater and the New Woodstock Historical Society. In addition, CPF established a revolving low-interest loan fund to assist homeowners in the restoration of their historic residences.
In 1985, CPF members expanded their view of preservation to include the countryside and farms surrounding our historic Village with its purchase of 25 acres known as Fairchild Hill at the south end of Cazenovia Lake and the 2.5 mile former railroad corridor known as the Gorge Trail. With these purchases, CPF’s land conservation efforts were born.
In this next phase of community stewardship, CPF employed a selection of land conservation methods while continuing its Village preservation through the placement of façade easements and architectural consultations and review on historic Village buildings such as the Lincklaen House, Methodist Church and Cazenovia Public Library. CPF was ‘gifted’ or acquired open space and trail acreage throughout the Town in a vision of a ‘greenbelt’ and trail system. During this time, Carpenter’s Pond and the Willow Patch also became CPF-protected properties. Additions were also made to the public trail system with the purchase of a portion of the abandoned railroad bed between Cazenovia and New Woodstock.
Conservation easements also became a tool to preserve the scenic open space and agricultural character of the community. In some cases, like New Woodstock’s Rose Farm and the Meadows Farm on Route 13 at the south edge of the Village, protective easements and conservation planning were combined to protect a large sensitive area as it changed ownership. Other easement properties, such as Stone Quarry Hill Art Park, protected existing community recreation resources. Easement and CPF-owned lands added acreage adjacent to already protected lands in the viewshed of Cazenovia Lake and along well-traveled roads.
CPF’s involvement in Village and Town issues that affect community architectural and land stewardship is not new. Active involvement in planning projects began with the 1981 Cazenovia Community Resources Project and continued with co-sponsorship of the Cazenovia Area Planning Project in 1999. The CPF board provides comments or is represented on advisory or working committees on many local issues, including historic preservation, conservation, community development and heavy industry.
A new, exciting phase of agricultural protection was ushered into Cazenovia in 2007 when Critz Farm was the first successful applicant in Madison County for New York State’s Purchase of Development Rights (PDR) program. CPF now holds an easement on both Critz Farm and Greyrock Farm through this program and is actively involved in preparing the files for completion of the PDR process on one other area farm.
CPF is currently working to increase its professionalism as a local, community land trust. It has recently been involved in organizational assessment and strategic planning as well as a rigorous update of its easement and stewardship programs. Guided by its mission of protection, the Cazenovia Preservation Foundation anticipates continuing and expanding its programs for the benefit of the Cazenovia community.