The Jay Heritage Center, Westchester County and the state announced an agreement today to transfer oversight of the historic John Jay property in Rye to the Jay Heritage Center. The nonprofit organization will be responsible for the long-term maintenance and restoration of the mansion and 23 acres that surround it.
The property — the childhood home of the founding father and the nation’s first chief justice — is located next to the county’s Marshlands Conservancy. The county and state both own 21.5 acres of the site, and the Jay Heritage Center owns 1.5 acres that include the 1838 Jay House, which Jay’s son built, according to the county executive’s office.
“It has been over 20 years since the county, working with New York State, came to the rescue of the Jay Property, saving it from demolition,” County Executive Robert Astorino said in a statement. “Now the county is stepping in again with an innovative public/private partnership to preserve it for future generations in a way that doesn’t fall on taxpayers. In these challenging economic times, these are the kinds of solutions that are essential.”
Under the agreement, the county will continue to police the property but it will no longer spend roughly $25,000 a year to maintain it. The county and state will grant a 10-year license to the Jay Heritage Center, renewable after the initial term, and the property will continue to be operated and maintained as state and county parkland and accessible to the public. The center may charge admission fees with state and county approval.
The Jay Heritage Center is raising funds from individuals and businesses to help restore the homestead’s meadow, gardens and apple orchards and rehabilitate historic structures for use as lecture halls, classical music spaces and art galleries. The property is a National Historic Landmark, part of the Boston Post Road Historic District and is part of the Westchester County African American Heritage Trail.
Read more about this in tomorrow’s Journal News/Lohud.com.
(Journal News file photo.)