HUNTERTOWN — On the eve of its 60th Anniversary, ACRES Land Trust is launching its first-ever 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, ACRES said in a news release.
Founded in 1960, ACRES will celebrates 60 years of protecting local land in March 2020.
“We’re protecting more land than ever, and we’ve simply run out of room to work,” said Jason Kissel, executive director for the nonprofit.
“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,” Kissel added.
The ACRES office, in the former home of Tom and Jane Dustin, two of its founders, bustles with business and curious hikers alike, ACRES said. 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 local architect, created an initial draft plan, honoring the home’s original footprint and architecture with as few modifications as possible.
ACRES is working with local landscape architects EarthSource to respect the character of its natural site and to limit the development’s footprint and impact. Mosaic Building Solutions was selected to provide general contractor services for the project. Irving Sand & Gravel has given ACRES generous support in significantly discounting materials, ACRES said.
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. ACRES owns land in three categories; its lands in the “nature preserve” and “protected lands” categories will never be sold or transferred.
The ACRES land management crew has begun site work for the project, set to complete in late 2020.
With the support of its members, ACRES Land Trust protects land in 27 counties in the tri-state area, forever. More information is available online at acreslandtrust.org.