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Land Conservancy seeks $200,000 to match Stella Niagara challenge grant

LEWISTON – The Western New York Land Conservancy, which is planning to buy 29 acres of land along the Niagara River in Lewiston, is seeking donations to match a $200,000 challenge grant offered by a Lewiston couple.

If the effort is successful, that would complete fundraising for the $3.27 million plan to buy the land from the Sisters of St. Francis, who operate the Stella Niagara mother house and school, and turn it into a perpetual nature preserve. The quarter-mile-long site is the largest privately owned undeveloped parcel left along the river.

Pamela and Joseph Priest of Lewiston have pledged $200,000 to the Stella Niagara Preserve project if the amount is matched by donations from foundations, businesses and citizens by June 1. The Priests’ children graduated from Stella Niagara Education Park, and their daughters now attend Sacred Heart Academy in Buffalo, operated by the same order of nuns.

The conservancy received a $150,000 grant of Niagara River Greenway funds last week.

Donations may be sent to the Western new York Land Conservancy, P.O. Box, 471, Easy Aurora, NY, 14052. There are naming opportunities available for those who donate $10,000 or more.