By SUSAN SMALLHEER Staff Writer PITTSFORD -- The old Forrest Farm sits in the middle of the village of Pittsford, and a Pittsford couple and other residents are hoping to turn the farm into something new to benefit the town. Betsy Morgan and her husband Baird bought the 20-acre former dairy farm, along with its large 18th-century house and 19th-century barn, earlier this year. And since then, the Morgans and a committee of interested residents that has grown to more than 25 people. They are working to come up with a plan to donate the property, now known as the Village Farm, so its uses will benefit the entire town. Betsy Morgan said this week there will be a townwide meeting Jan. 18 at the Lothrop School to discuss the community's needs.We’re hoping to attract townspeople – from every nook and cranny – what they would like to see and the potential for using the property,” Morgan said. She and her husband have lived in Pittsford for 50 years and had raised their family here, and they wanted to do something for their hometown. She declined to say how much she and her husband paid for the farm, but the price had come down to a “reasonable” level after being on the market for several years.I’m very excited about it,” said Brian Kamuda, who recently moved back to his hometown after 14 years away, including 12 years in Florida working in sales and development for the Orlando Magic basketball team. Kamuda, 34, recently bought his family’s store, Kamuda’s Country Market, from his parents, and the Village Farm is just across Elm Street. Kamuda has gotten involved with the group of people working on the Village Farm project, helping to brainstorm about what the property should be used for.My goal is to create something,” he said, so that people would come visit Pittsford – “an hour, a day, a weekend ... spend quality time.” He added, "t could be a very dynamic project. It’s exciting to have the energy, in what most people consider the center of town.” Morgan said since she and Baird bought the farm, they demolished a couple of rundown small buildings and cleaned up some debris. They added picnic tables, so people can buy their lunch and bring it there to enjoy downtown Pittsford. Morgan said the group – Pittsford Community Connects – had been meeting to brainstorm about the best use of the Village Farm. She said the land surrounding the house and barn was “beautiful,” with wonderful views south to Mount Tabor and north to the Champlain Valley. The land is connected to Pittsford’s public trail network, giving it a key role in future recreation opportunities. Morgan said a lot of people have suggested a community ice skating rink, and she said Pittsford Community Connects is looking into that possibility. Another request is for a community center where people can meet, and host events. The town library is the only real public meeting space, and it is very small, she said. The Morgans have put a new roof on the house since they bought the farm and have been working with the Preservation Trust of Vermont about possible uses of the historic buildings. She said the farmhouse would not be suitable for a community center, but could be split up for apartments, and the barn could be used for small business spaces.It’s drop-dead gorgeous, beautiful land," Morgan said. "What a gift this piece of land is." The group has so far identified three main topics for study: housing, economic development and business, and recreation and social. She said the Jan. 18 meeting will include three professional facilitators to work with residents on what the town needs. There will be a followup meeting and vote in February.It’s not for us, it’s for the town, to be given to the community,” she said. Pittsford Community Connects has both a Facebook page, www.facebook.com/PittsfordVillageFarm/ with more information on the project Kelly Connaughton and Jennifer Cyr Tinsman have also been involved in the Pittsford Community Connects.It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for us to decide,” Tinsman said, adding she is trying to encourage members of the community to get involved in the planning process.The community does have a lot of questions,” she said. Tinsman helped organize an ice cream social earlier this year as outreach to the community, to let them know about the Village Farm project. Connaughton said she has been working on the communications committee, “to get the word out.”It’s a project that has a wonderful potential,” she said. “Betsy and Baird do want public opinion to drive the process.” susan.smallheer@rutlandherald.com                    

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