Thursday, November 13th, 2008

The Morris County Board of Chosen Freeholders has approved spending $23,093,836 from the county’s Preservation Trust Fund to help preserve 21 projects in 16 towns.

The freeholders approved funding the projects based upon the recommendations of the county’s Open Space Committee, which reviewed 30 applications.

The largest grant, $6 million, went to the nonprofit Trust for Public Land to assist in the purchase of 187.7 acres of vacant woodlands next to Lewis Morris County Park, Jockey Hollow National Historic Park and preserved land in the Washington Valley Historic District. Acquisition of the woodlands, which are within the Delbarton School, will enhance trail linkages to Patriot’s Path and other regional trails.

Montville received a grant of $2,541,980 to acquire two densely forested properties on either side of Miller Lane known as Starkey Park. The 48.6 acres are adjacent to municipally preserved land and also contain wetlands and trails for passive recreation.

The smallest grant award, $40,000, went to Morris Plains for the purchase of less than half an acre of property on Route 202 behind the Shop Rite-Kohl’s Shopping Center. The property will enable an existing trail network to be connected, providing passive recreation in a highly urbanized area.

Other grant recipients were Boonton in the amount of $1 million for the Miller-Kingsland property; Boonton Township in the amount of $1 million for the Kokora II project; Denville, which had two projects approved, in the amounts of $300,000 for property directly east of the Knuth Farm and $222,000 for the Kovacs Property; the nonprofit Protect Our Wetlands, Water & Woods in the amount of $700,000 for Jonathan’s Woods Extension; Florham Park in the amount of $1 million for the Passaic River Greenway Project; and Jefferson Township in the amount of $850,000 for the Casterock Preserve.

Also receiving open space grants were Kinnelon in the amount of $1.4 million for the Weber Tract; Madison in the amount of $1.3 million for the Madison Recreation Center; Mendham Borough in the amount of $110,000 for Tranquility Garden; Mendham Township, which also had two projects approved, in the amounts of $1.5 million for Pitney Farm and $1.85 million for the Leddell Preserve; The Schiff Natural Lands Trust in the amount of $1.75 million for the North Branch Addition to Schiff; Morris Plains in the amount of $289,856 for open space on the north side of Malapardis Road; the Passaic River Coalition in the amount of $687,500 for the Willow Hall Property in Morristown; the Canal Society of New Jersey in the amount of $82,500 for the Morris Canal Greenway; Pequannock Township in the amount of $70,000 for the Woodland Lake Park Extension; and Roxbury Township in the amount of $400,000 for the Landing Recreation Project.

A complete list of the 2008 approved projects will soon be found on the Morris County Preservation Trust website, http://www.morrispreservation.org.

A tax of 4 cents per $100 of assessed property value is used to fund the program. Any of the 39 municipalities in the county and qualified charitable conservancies are eligible to apply for project funding.

Since the Open Space program began in 1994, nearly 17,700 acres of open space have been preserved in Morris County.