The Friends of Northampton wish to thank you for watching our video about Monroe County’s plans to alter the natural habitat of Northampton Park, and allow a private business entity (The Monroe County Fair Association) proprietary use of the land.
Northampton Park is a public recreation area containing nearly 1000 acres of forest, meadows, streams, and miles of hiking and equine trails enjoyed by thousands of visitors year round. Home to numerous species, including those designated as “threatened” and “special concern” by the NYS DEC, the diversity of the Park’s ecosystem is unique and precious. In late May 2013, residents of the area became aware of a proposal to turn Northampton into a Festival site through a local news story; there’d been neither public outreach for input, nor notification of people by the County regarding the changes.
Citizens quickly formed the Friends of Northampton and rallied to oppose the action. We hired an attorney to prepare a lawsuit BEFORE the Proposal’s vote by the County Legislators. Why? Because from documents we’d obtained it was obvious movement of the Fair to Northampton Park was forgone conclusion. The papers contained information disclosing what our lawyers have termed “the backdoor deal”, indicating that the decision had taken place behind closed doors months before. Thus it was no surprise on the night of the Legislature meeting that the County’s Republican Majority voted in favor of accepting a one-time “gift” of $500K from the Fair Association to move to Northampton Park and build 8 permanent structures on public land, despite over 600 petitions submitted and verbal arguments from the 50+ residents present.
After the vote our legal team filed the lawsuit, and several weeks later oral arguments were heard by the judge. His decision was quick, and despite legal precedent to the contrary, deemed we had “no standing”. Although the County did not (and still has not) received the $500K promised, they began clearing Park land in direct violation of the NYS DECs 5 day waiting period on a Notice of Intent, as mandated by law.
A timeline of events and all documents associated with “the backdoor deal” can be found on our Chronology page.
The Monroe County Legislature’s actions are an attempt to commercialize Northampton; to turn it into a revenue-producing asset. Allowing public lands to be privatized and commercialized sets a dangerous precedent; forever alienating wildlife/individuals from park lands and violating the public trust. Northampton Park belongs to ALL people, and the act of giving away such wilderness for payment is abhorrent. The Park and its wildlife are not economic pawns to be bought and sold!
If this campaign is not successful, the consequences will be devastating. Additional detrimental actions on the Park will have a disastrous effect on the local environment and entire ecosystem; further injuring important habitat, impacting precious wildlife, causing significant erosion, and likely contaminating the watershed.
What We Need
The Friends of Northampton have filed an appeal to a higher court to overrule the judge’s original decision, and we are currently attempting to raise the $30,000+ required to fund the action. Since the bulk of the monies used to initially establish the Park came from Federal and State grants, we believe all the people have a vested interest in Northampton and should have a say in its future.
Although we weren’t able to fully stop the 2013 Fair from taking place, our actions were able to delay installation of any permanent structures on the land. Everything done to the Park to date was temporary installations; hastily cobbled together. It can all be removed and the damage reversed if we ACT NOW. We will continue the fight to protect the Park’s lands and wildlife on everyone’s behalf, but we can’t do it alone; we need your help!
Small Actions Can Make A Big Change
It’s our belief that Northampton Park and its inhabitants are treasures worth fighting for. Unless we work together and demand a halt to its destruction/commercialization, this unique and special resource could be lost to current and future generations. We need your help to make our collective voices heard in the halls of justice. All monies donated go directly toward the legal fund to fight further desecration of the Park, restore what’s been damaged, and preserve its fragile ecosystem.
Who says a few dollars don’t go far? When thousands of people just give a small amount, amazing things occur. Take a stand. Show you care. Help safeguard the future of beautiful places, and everyone’s right to enjoy them, by becoming a Friend of Northampton. Please give whatever you can spare; by giving together we can make miracles happen!
Other Ways You Can Help
If you want to help us but are unable to do so monetarily, you can always contribute by spreading the word on Facebook, Twitter, via email, or any other way you can think of. Don’t be shy about posting our plea and sharing this information with your friends. The health of our planet and lives of the creatures of Northampton Park depend on everyone’s efforts! We and the wildlife thank you for your support!