Cooperstown land owner fufills dream after father's death

By Josh Martin

August 14, 2014 Updated Aug 14, 2014 at 7:51 PM EDT

Cooperstown, NY (WBNG Binghamton) A Cooperstown property owner and the U.S. Department of Agriculture are working together to bring to life the dream of one man and his late father.

“My father just passed away, so really it was his property, and this is our vision and our dream,” said Robert Hickey, Cooperstown land owner.

Hickey and his father shared the dream of building something on the property for nearly three decades.

“I moved here 25 years ago with my father and our vision, as a father and son, without our own excavating equipment, our vision for the property here was to build ponds as a father and son team."

The project is possible through the restoration cost-share agreement in the 2008 Farm Bill.

The agreement helps to restore and enhance the wetland functions and values. The USDA pays up to 75-percent of the restoration cost.

USDA soil conservation technician Jeanine Harter has helped the Hickey's with their vision.

“Mr. Hickey came to our field office and expressed the interest in developing some wetland habitat. He felt he had some land that would qualify and be eligible for the wetland reserve program,” said Harter.

State Senator James Seward is native to the area. On Thursday, he was able to see the wetlands for the first time.

Seward believes the wetlands will be more than beneficial to the area.

“It is a wonderful project. It shows what can be done through partnerships with a private landowner and the public entities coming together to create this refuge," Seward said.

The wetlands will host hundreds of species.

“I want it as a wildlife refuge," said Hickey. "I want people to come and see things that ordinarily they wouldn’t be able to go to a normal park and see. That's my vision."

Over the course of the next few weeks, Hickey will see he and his father’s wetland come to life.