A Great Deal of Land
by Kenneth Saccaro
The Richmond Country Club (RCCC) 124-acre golf course sits in the heart of the Greenbelt. It will forever be a green oasis thanks to a deal made in 1989 between Club members and New York State. The State, using money from the 1986 Environmental Quality Bond Act, purchased the land from the RCCC with the Club receiving a 99-year tax free lease to use the land. At the end of the 99 year period, the land would revert back to the State yet remain parkland. The Club needed to negotiate a deal because its property taxes were going to drastically rise to an untenable rate. The Club received $4million for sale of the land, $1million of which was set aside to establish an endowment for the Greenbelt Conservancy.
The deal was truly a “win-win” situation. Staten Island avoided development of an integral part of the Greenbelt; the Greenbelt Conservancy endowment was established, and the Richmond County Country Club golf course, the oldest private country club in New York City, kept its beloved course – at least for 99 years.
Editor’s note: Dr. Kenneth Saccaro, a charter member of the Greenbelt Conservancy and president of the Richmond Country Country Club at the time the historic deal was brokered, remains a member of the Greenbelt board and a driving force on all Greenbelt issues.