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GREENWICH, CT-International Paper will sell approximately 95 acres of land known as the Treetops along the Mianus River in Greenwich and Stamford to the Trust for Public Land according to an agreement reached between the two parties.

The Trust for Public Land, a national non-profit organization, is proposing to purchase approximately 95 acres and a conservation easement over some 10 additional acres from International Paper for $11.5 million. The Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection has committed $3.5 million to the purchase, and plans to take title to the property once sufficient matching funds have been raised from other sources. International Paper will continue to own and manage the historic 33-room Treetops home and about 15 surrounding acres, company officials say.

Public and private funding commitments must be in place by January 31, 2001 in order for the acquisition to move forward. Greenwich has been asked to purchase a conservation easement over 70 acres for $3.5 million and Stamford has been asked to purchase a conservation easement over 35 acres for $1.5 million. Both municipalities are expected to vote on the project soon. In addition, a coalition of non-profits is launching a $3-million fundraising campaign to save the Treetops property.

“International Paper has a proud tradition of stewardship for our lands and support for the communities where we are located. As we prepare to move our corporate headquarters to Stamford, we felt it important to work with local, state and private organizations to find a solution for the transition of this property,” says John Dillon, International Paper chairman and chief executive officer. “The Trust for Public Land’s proposal ensures that the community will benefit from maintaining this open space and we will serve our company’s shareholders by obtaining a fair price for the property.”

“The Trust for Public Land is delighted to announce our intent to purchase Treetops from International Paper. We now have a window of opportunity to pull together the funds needed to protect Treetops permanently,” says Tim Northrop, state director for TPL in Connecticut. “TPL applauds the state for committing $3.5 million to the project, and we look forward to working with the town of Greenwich, city of Stamford, and local non-profits to raise the remaining $8 million.” TPL has been negotiating to purchase the Treetops property for nearly a year. Negotiations began with Champion International and continued with International Paper after it purchased Champion earlier this year.

The effort to preserve the Treetops property has been a collaborative effort involving not only the Trust for Public Land, International Paper, and the Department of Environmental Protection, but also Congressman Christopher Shays, Stamford Mayor Dannel P. Malloy, Greenwich First Selectman Lolly Prince, House Speaker Moira K. Lyons, Senate Majority Leader George Jepsen, Senator William H. Nickerson, and Representative Dolly Powers who have worked to get an agreement in place.

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