Aquidneck Land Trust announces $100K challenge grant for Spruce Acres Farm

PORTSMOUTH, R.I. — The Aquidneck Land Trust (ALT) has created a $100,000 challenge grant to purchase Spruce Acres Farm, a 22.8-acre property on the Middletown and Portsmouth line.

ALT hopes to permanently conserve Spruce Acres as public, open space. Donations from three sources were pooled to create the challenge grant. The challenge grant’s sponsors are The EJMP Fund for Philanthropy, BankNewport, and the Bafflin Foundation.

Spruce Acres Farm, which abuts the Sisson Pond drinking supply watershed area, is connected to several other conserved properties. Collectively, the properties are known as the Center Island Greenway and provide a corridor of mammal and bird habitat. Purchase of the property would enable ALT to open nature trails on the farm to the public and possibly expand the trail system onto other conserved lands.

“It really is a community effort and we hope this will motivate others to contribute an equal amount towards the purchase of Spruce Acres,” said Chuck Allott, executive director for ALT. “This show of support could not have come at a better time.”

The ALT has raised more than $1,624,000 through donations and pledges to purchase the former tree farm and has until March 31 to procure the remainder of the $2.1 million required to complete the purchase.

Other contributions to purchase the property have come from the town of Middletown, the town of Portsmouth, the Rhode Island Agricultural Lands Preservation Commission, The Gewirz Family, and nearly 200 other individual and corporate donations.

Aquidneck Land Trust’s time-sensitive mission is to preserve and steward Aquidneck Island’s open spaces for the lasting benefit of the community while connecting people with the land that defines the island’s natural character. The organization has conserved 2,552 acres on 76 properties across Aquidneck Island since its founding in 1990. ALT is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, and the first land trust in Rhode Island to have received national accreditation.

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