In the scope of things, ten years isn't all that big a stretch of time – especially when put into the context of the Three Village community, where parts of the area date back more than 350 years.
But ten years has been enough so far for the Three Village Community Trust (TVCT) to launch and make progress on a number of historical and environmental preservation projects.
The TVCT on Wednesday celebrated its ten-year anniversary with a presentation titled "A Decade of Progress" at the Setauket Neighborhood House.
"We're preserving community lands, archiving the community's history," said TVCT president Cynthia R. Barnes. "It's so we have a stability over time, so we understand from whence we came and give us a good understanding of where we should be going."
Among the organization's projects:
- The Rubber Factory worker houses in Setauket
- The Stephen D. Matthews Preserve in Poquott
- Stewardship of the Greenway Trail through the Friends of the Greenway
- Acquisition of the Bruce House, from the 1920s era, as headquarters
- Harbor Day celebrations
- An ongoing strategic conservation plan to "enhance public awareness of local preservation needs"
- Gamecock Cottage restoration at West Meadow
- Site improvement at Patriot's Rock
- Hawkins Homestead on Christian Avenue
The TVCT relies heavily on grant money, volunteer manpower, and donated services and supplies.
The organization on Wednesday presented four awards to community members who have made significant contributions along those lines, most recently the moving and ongoing restoration of the Rubber Factory worker houses:
- Louis Bove, of Bove Industries, who did the site preparation leading up to the moving of the houses and dug the foundation;
- Masonry and landscaping contractor Joseph Troffa, who poured the foundation for the houses and provided landscaping supplies and manpower;
- David Fortuna of Swan Cove Landscaping, who has provided authentic Colonial-era fencing and other maintenance projects for various Community Trust properties;
- Contractor John Schoendorf, who helped clear rubbish as a volunteer, has donated materials for various projects, and who has provided restoration work at reduced rates.
The organization also presented a summary of its finances: In 2011, the TVCT had a net worth of $992,000, while in 2012 it had a net worth of $933,000. Its goal is to increase that to $1 million in 2013.
Herb Mones, a member of the founding committee, likened the TVCT to the movie "Field of Dreams."
"If you have a vision and a dream, people will participate and people will help," he said. "We have so many structures now, and properties that are being added, that make us an important part of the three villages."
Donations to the TVCT are tax-deductible; see the organization's website for more details on how to donate or other ways to get involved. The organization is also seeking donations of items such as a reliable photocopy machine and late 1700s to early 1800s antique furniture and artifacts.
"Our ongoing projects need money, but in small amounts, and we hope some of that will periodically be covered by volunteers," Mones said.
State Assemb. Steve Englebright, D-Setauket, said the work of the TVCT helps define the community, and has done so in a relatively short amount of time.
"We’ve benefited from this still-young organiztion’s vision and energy in just these first 10 years. They have already made an indelible mark in helping protect and preserve things that we hold dear," he said. "Through the Community Trust we are able to know that we’ll be able to pass the heritage on to our next generation and beyond. I view them as heroic and so very important to helping to define and reinforce who we are as a community."