HUNTERTOWN — ACRES Land Trust is launching a capital campaign to help build a barn and renovate the home it uses as an office. The investments will help the nonprofit care for its expanding acreage, following a period of 50 percent growth in the land it owns and protects. Founded in 1960, ACRES will celebrate its 60th anniversary in March.
“We’re protecting more land than ever and we’ve simply run out of room to work,” Executive Director Jason Kissel said in a news release. “To restore and manage land, we need space for our equipment and projects. We also need site and office improvements for efficiency, customer service and accessibility for our growing business and for our members. After 60 years of making do, running the organization out of people’s homes, finally investing in proper workspaces is prudent and long overdue.”
ACRES’ Huntertown office is in the former home of Tom and Jane Dustin, two of the nonprofit’s founders. Renovations will add an accessible entryway and restrooms, create office spaces and strengthen and widen the access lane, allowing for two-way traffic.
“We chose to stay here in the Cedar Creek Corridor after careful deliberation,” Kissel said. “Here, on a nature preserve in a thousand-acre conservation corridor protected by ACRES members, our work speaks for itself.”
ACRES member George Morrison, a retired architect, created an initial draft plan, honoring the home’s original footprint and architecture with as few modifications as possible, according to a news release.
ACRES is working with the landscape architects of Huntertown business EarthSource to respect the character of this natural place in site location and to limit the development’s footprint and impact, the release said. Mosaic Building Solutions was selected to provide general contractor services for the project. Irving Sand & Gravel has offered discounted materials.
ACRES will begin fundraising for the project with the sale of an investment property donated by the late Art Hammer as part of a bequest. ACRES’ “Transferable Land” category allows donors to give land to the land trust for investment use as the nonprofit deems necessary.
The ACRES land management crew has begun site work for the project, which is scheduled for completion in late 2020.