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Hamptons Life

May 19, 2017 2:52 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

North Haven Residents April Gornik And Eric Fischl Help Preserve 26 Acres

May 19, 2017 2:52 PM

North Haven residents and artists April Gornik and Eric Fischl have enjoyed watching the wildlife in the wooded area behind their home for 18 years. They would often see swans and other birds on the marsh, and once in awhile would watch small herds of deer scurry through the land. Now, they have helped permanently preserve the 26 acres by selling the land to Southampton Town’s Community Preservation Fund.

Ms. Gornik and her husband, who have been together since 1976, purchased the land known as the “Fair Oaks” property five years ago for $3.5 million after the owner, who previously did not want to sell it, agreed to the price. Since the property is located right behind their home on Fresh Pond Road, Ms. Gornik said their goal was always to avoid development of the 26 acres, which were broken up into five subdivisions.

After a few years, the duo started looking into a way to make sure the land could be permanently preserved. They spoke with the Peconic Land Trust and various nature conservancies, but ultimately decided to sell the land to the town’s CPF department for $3.5 million, a transaction that went through earlier this year.

“We made no money on it,” Ms. Gornik said. “It was an even exchange, but we were very happy. It was just so wonderful, we were dancing when we found out it had gone through.”

Mr. Fischl said the two felt like it was the perfect solution to preserve the land, although they broke even on the property, which would have been worth more money if developed.

“The important thing is that the land gets preserved,” Mr. Fischl added. “It’s peace and quiet for us while we live in our house and for the future in trying to maintain a healthy eco-balance out here.”

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