Ongoing restorations at in Setauket will continue thanks to an additional $100,000 in funds secured in the county's 2013 to 2015 capital budget, Suffolk County Legis. Kara Hahn recently announced.
In a July 23 newsletter, Hahn said the additional funding would serve to restore structures that "are in danger of collapse and pose a hazard to visitors" as well as create a classroom space.
The farm and stables are considered historic county parkland that warrants careful preservation, according to Richard Martin, director of historic services with Suffolk County Parks Department. To date, he said, $200,000 of county funds have been invested in restoring Old Field Farm.
"Now with the additional funding, we're looking to restore as much of the original stable as we can," Martin said.
Old Field Farm was constructed as horse show grounds in 1931, and was acquired by Suffolk County in 1990, according to Martin. In 1996, the county signed an agreement with Old Field Farm Ltd., the not-for-profit organization that currently operates the farm.
According to Sally Lynch, president and one of the founders of that organization, many restorative projects have already been completed, including the replacement of hurdle-style fencing and four-plank fencing; replacement of plumbing and electrical fixtures; restoration of key buildings on the property; the rehabilitation of riding turf areas; and the installation of an ecologically-friendly main ring, designed by Robert Jolicoeur of International Equestrian Design, along with a warm-up ring.
"There is more to do, but we take a careful, studied approach to each project to insure we have adequate funding to start and complete a project and do right by this important equestrian landmark parkland," Lynch said in an email to Patch.
Martin said while tough economic times and county budget difficulties may threaten the life of restoration projects, maintenance remains a priority.
"What we try to do, even in the hard times, is to continue with the maintenance of the roofs on the historic structures so we don't lose them," Martin said. "Part of this money will go to the roof replacements, and then we might finish building restoration when we can get more funding."
Old Field Farm is home to several United States Equestrian Federation sanctioned events each year, as well as riding clinics – the farm even hosted three-time Olympian Michael Page for a clinic in June – and community movie nights.
The goal is to "restore and operate the farm to serve as a living model for preservation of historic structures and open spaces and promote the horse and its impact on our culture, past, present and future," Lynch said.
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