KING FERRY, NY – Following a public outcry, NYSEG has changed course and canceled a proposed public auction of a section of undeveloped lakefront along Cayuga Lake.

Instead, the utility has agreed to sell the 470 acre property to the Finger Lakes Land Trust for an undisclosed price.

The parcel includes 34 hundred feet of pristine shoreline, the longest such stretch in the Finger Lakes.

The Land Trust plans to eventually turn the property over to the Department of Environmental Conservation to manage public access and recreational opportunities.

Land Trust Executive Director Andrew Zepp says this is his organization’s most significant project to date.

“Ithaca is growing and the lakeshore is getting a little more crowded. It really presents a unique opportunity to provide for public access to the lake while conserving some steep hillsides which, if developed, would contribute runoff that is feeding one of our concerns which is toxic algae,” says Zepp.

The property was purchased by NYSEG in the 1970’s adjacent to an existing coal-fired power plant known as Milliken Station with the thought of constructing a nuclear power plant.

In 1999, NYSEG sold off Milliken which ceased operations 2 years ago.

NYSEG President and CEO Carl Taylor says the utility ultimately decided that it had no use for the property and announced plans to sell it at auction.

However, a grassroots movement put pressure on the company to preserve the land, allow public access and not let it be developed.

Taylor says he received many letters and emails from concerned citizens.

“We’re part of these communities, we’ve been in these communities a long time, and we want to be a part of the community in the future. I think this is just another way of showing that, number one, we do care about the environment, we care about the communities that we serve and also the people that live in these communities. So, we felt this was truly a win for all of the parties and we’re really proud to be able to do this,” says Taylor.

Taylor credits Governor Hochul with helping to broker the deal with Finger Lakes Land Trust.
Zepp says he expects the sale to close in the Spring.

The Land Trust plans to create a parking area near the shore, improve an existing system of walking paths and create a launch for canoes and kayaks.

Zepp says local stakeholders will have a say in what is done with the property, but he says the installation of a solar array in the section that had been leased to farmers is a possibility.