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$73k Dippikill Purchase Gets Final Nod

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Student Association President Jerlisa Fontaine earlier this month closed a long-mulled decision to expand the Camp Dippikill wilderness retreat for the first time in decades.

Acquisition of the property had been considered to prevent other potential buyers from threatening the camp’s sustainability mission, to increase roadway accessibility from Lyon’s Den lodge, and to meet new cabin regulations with ease.

“Whatever it is that is a part of the Student Association, we want to see it continue growing overall,” said 2016-17 SA President Felix Abreu.

Abreu had lead one of three administrations to weigh buying the land. Further back, the former owners, the last of which died in 2013, had been in decade-old informal talks with SA over selling the land.

In December, the Dippikill Board recommended a final push towards purchasing the land to satisfy sellers unwilling to extend a deal beyond spring. The deal was negotiated between two out of three heirs to the former owners. The other heir donated her parcel of land to SA.

Included in the 2017-18 internal budget, SA will pay two installments for the property: $40,000 this year and $33,000 next year. The purchase met mild resistance during senate budget deliberations but ultimately passed with majority support.

Conner Dunleavy, former senator-at-large, argued SA should’ve extended contractual talks further. He also criticized the space’s lack of buildable land. “I believe very simply that we should have actual negotiations on the land, the process should be longer, and I need to believe whether we need to actually buy that land.”

Four out of 140 acres of land could sustain cabin development. Casey Crandall, Dippikill Board Chair, told the Albany Student Press last month that further development is not yet in the works.

“I that think makes for a good talking point of, ‘Oh, we should not do this land purchase so this money could be used elsewhere,'” said Micheal Spellane, then-BOF chair. “But I think that it’s something that the board [of finance] took very, very seriously and so, as far as it  being a weight off my shoulders — I wouldn’t say that.”

Before Fontaine gave a final OK, the deal was signed off by Nikash Nanavarty, then-comptroller. Spellane was appointed comptroller days later at the last senate meeting of the legislative session.

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