Conservancy Raises Funds To Preserve Iconic Farmland In Winston-Salem
The Piedmont Land Conservancy (PLC) announced that it has reached its year-end goal to preserve nearly 100 acres of farmland in Winston-Salem.
The grassy rolling hills that offer clear views of the city were known for more than a century for housing The Children’s Home — an orphanage, farm, and school opened in 1909 by the Methodist Church. Today it’s the Crossnore School & Children’s Home providing residential foster care.
As the city has grown, builders have coveted the centrally-located land for development. The PLC’s $7.9 million fundraising campaign began in 2018 to remove development rights. Executive Director Kevin Redding says the initial negotiations that began years ago were worth it.
"I think it makes Winston-Salem unique out of any other city in North Carolina," says Redding. "There’s nothing like this. Charlotte doesn't have it. Raleigh doesn't have it. Greensboro doesn't have it. So, to be able to keep this historical property the way it is into the future without the risk of it ever being developed really sets Winston apart."
Redding says PLC’s efforts will now shift to constructing a public walking trail there and raising funds for stewardship. He says a project like this doesn't happen overnight.
"We spent six or seven years having discussions with the leadership of the Children's Home which then merged with the Crossnore School & Children's Home," says Redding. "It takes hundreds of volunteers to help with the fundraising work. We've just been blown away by the people who are willing to spend their time and put their money into something that's going to benefit everybody in Winston-Salem."
PLC's year-end goal of raising $6.5 million allows them to proceed with the process of recording a conservation easement on the farmland. The Conservancy estimates it needs to raise just over $1 million more to fund the entire campaign. Additional donations will fund the walking trail with trailheads available from the adjoining Boston-Thurmond community and Reynolda Road. Redding says he hopes the trail construction will be completed in the next six to nine months with a public opening slated for later in 2020.
Crossnore will continue to own the property and use it for therapeutic and educational purposes, much as it’s been used for more than 100 years.