BURRILLVILLE – The Levy Foundation has made what proponents call a, “game changing,” financial commitment to help save a historically and environmentally important Burrillville property from development.
The organization, named in honor of June Rockwell Levy , committed $100,000 to the Burrillville Land Trust’s effort to purchase Sweet’s Hill, a property that once held the largest farm in town.
BLT launched a campaign to save the property last year, with the goal of raising $2.2 million to purchase and steward the parcel, currently up for sale. The 150-acre East Avenue property, known as Indian Acres by many long time residents, was once part of a 1,000-acre dairy farm owned by Albert Sweet.
The land is also part of a contiguous forest that stretches all the way to Maine.
“We are eternally grateful for this commitment from the June Rockwell Levy Foundation. We can’t think
of a better legacy of the Levy’s then saving this property for all time,” said Land Trust President Paul Roselli. “Once the property is sold, it becomes off limits, locked up and changed forever,”
The Land Trust is a non-profit, all volunteer organization with a mission to preserve and protect the rural character of the town through acquisition, education and advocacy. In its 21 year history, the land trust has acquired just over 229 acres of Burrillville land.
“Our hope is to open up this property to hikers to Black Hut and Spring Lake, to those who enjoy the quiet surroundings of our natural environment, and to those who long for a return to the New England bucolic charm of farms and small villages that encompassed this area,” Roselli said.
The land trust produced a five minute campaign video that goes along with the fund raising effort, and held a raffle in February to kick off the initiative.
Roselli noted that the funding, managed by the Rhode Island Foundation, marks a significant contribution toward the ambitious $2.2 million goal.
“This is a game changer for the land trust,” Roselli said.
Still, much more is needed.
“We hope this commitment from the June Rockwell Levy Foundation to be the first of many from other foundations to save this iconic property,” said Roselli. “We can’t let this place be bulldozed.”