News

Friends of Krueger Farm celebrate effort

Three months of hard work looks to have paid off as Friends of Krueger Farm cleared its first hurdle to purchase a 33-acre parcel of land on the western edge of Coupeville.

The grass-roots organization met their $280,000 goal Wednesday, one day before its Jan. 8 deadline.

“It’s gratifying to see passionate local support,” said Friends of Krueger Farm member, Sally Hayton-Keeva. “We’re proving a small historic town can protect itself.”

There was some apprehension among fund raisers in the days leading up to the deadline. As of the first of the year, the group was approximately $50,000 short of its goal.

Hayton-Keeva said that a flood of checks came in during the last week and that three anonymous donations put the Friends of Krueger Farm over the hump. She wouldn’t comment on the amount of the anonymous donations.

Coming up short would have meant the end of purchasing effort and all of the money would have been refunded.

But with the goal met, the friends are taking time to celebrate with a party Sunday afternoon at Coupeville Recreation Hall.

“They’ve done a really great job and worked hard,” said Pat Powell, executive director of the Whidbey Camano Land Trust, which has been assisting the Friends with the land purchase.

She noted that it can be difficult to get donations from people who are normally busy with the holiday season.

Coupeville Mayor Nancy Conard echoed Powell’s sentiments. “I’m just really impressed with their efforts,” she said.

Since the 33-acre Krueger Farm is located near Highway 20 on the eastern side of Coupeville, many residents feel it should be preserved as a rural entry into town.

The land is comprised of fields, wetlands and a large T-shaped wooded area.

The chunk of land was a hotbed of controversy last year when a complicated rezoning proposal came before the Town Council.

The land, originally zoned medium-density residential, was divided up into a variety of densities and preserved the wooded area in the middle as open space.

Several requirements in the agreement include two development moratoriums on parts of the property and subjecting any possible construction to design review.

While Friends of Krueger Farm has nearly $300,000, the fund-rasing effort continues as more than $1 million needs to be raised.

Hayton-Keeva said the Friends of Krueger Farm is going to work with the Whidbey Camano Land Trust to figure out where to proceed next.

She hopes the fund-raising effort receives a shot in the arm this spring. An article about Krueger Farm is appearing in Preservation magazine, a publication of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and should offer the Coupeville-based group with some national exposure.

The group wants to have $860,000 raised by next October with the remainder due in April 2005.

Powell said she’s confident that Friends of Krueger Farm can meet that goal because they have nearly 10 months to raise money.

For more information about Friends of Krueger Farm, call 678-2214 or go to www.kruegerfarm.com.

You can reach News-Times reporter Nathan Whalen at nwhalen@whidbeynewstimes.com or 675-6611.

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