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Freeholders funding open space projects
The Morris County Board of Chosen Freeholders has approved the spending of $2,045,000 from the county’s Preservation Trust Fund to help preserve 58.1 acres of land in Mine Hill and Denville, two of 13 towns granted funding to support open space projects.
Through the Canfield Property Open Space Acquisition, Mine Hill was awarded $1,250,000 to preserve 46.7 acres of historical land located adjacent to 200 acres known as the Dickerson Mine preserve.
The trust fund grant can be considered as partial payment for a project that is estimated to cost nearly $5 million, or less, depending on how negotiations go with the owners.
"It’s a nice piece of property that provides a contiguous tract of land expanding the town’s park system into Randolph and beyond," said Mine Hill’s Mayor Richard Leary.
To complete the purchase price, which is yet to be determined, Mine Hill will seek additional funding from other sources. According to Leary, the town has approached The New Jersey Green Acres Program and plans to approach others that could include: the Morris County Municipal Utilities Authority, Morris County Park Commission and the Morris Land Conservancy.
Through as the Rockaway Project, Denville was awarded $420,000 to purchase land in Rockaway Borough, and $375,000 for the open space project known as the Fels Property, located within Denville’s borders.
The plan is for both properties, which are adjacent to one another, to form a greenbelt, one measuring 6.4 acres of land along the Rockaway River and the other 5 acres of land along Broad Street.
"They are sister properties and they belong together," said Ted Hussa, Denville’s mayor. "The county has provided us the funding that we needed to prevent commercial construction on a site that is prone to flooding."
"In addition to the county grants totaling $795,000, an additional $319,000 was made by the New Jersey Green Acres Program to support the Rockaway Project. Also, $75,000 was contributed by Denville towards the purchase of the Fels Property," Hussa said.
Denville improved its chance to receive county grant money when a letter of support was issued by Rockaway Borough’s Council endorsing the township’s application to purchase riverfront property located within the borough.
Historically, The Morris County Preservation Trust Fund receives more requests for funding than it can afford. Thirteen towns were selected for this year’s open space funding. A tax of 2 cents per $100 of assessed property value is used to fund the 2010 program. The county’s Preservation Trust Fund program has been in existence since 1994.
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
BY DAVID JIMENEZ
Neighbor News (Denville Edition)