Monday, March 14th, 2016

The Morris County Department of Planning and Public Works, Division of Planning and Preservation, has announced that the 2016 grant application for funding of open space projects under the Morris County Preservation Trust are now available online on the Planning & Public Works – Open Space Preservation website.

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Any of Morris County’s 39 municipalities and qualified charitable conservancies are eligible to apply for grant funding, said Barbara Murray, open space program coordinator.

The 2016 application process begins as the freeholders on Wednesday approved continued funding for the county’s Preservation Trust Fund, which generates revenues through a voter-approved special county tax.

The tax, set at 7/8 of a cent per $100 of tax assessment, should generate about $8 million this year. Of that money, the county allocates 2/8 of a cent to the Park Improvement Trust used by the Park Commission to restore facilities and 5/8 of a cent is allocated to the other Preservation Trust Programs.

In addition to open space projects, the county’s preservation fund also is used to help finance farmland and historic preservation, county parkland acquisition, and the purchase of residential properties prone to flooding.

Patriot's Path in Washington Township

Patriot’s Path in Washington Township

“Preserving our open spaces to create parks, connect trails, offer recreational opportunities for our residents, or just to make sure we have green spaces in each of our towns, is vitally important to maintaining our great quality of life in Morris County,’’ said Freeholder Director Kathy DeFillippo.

The freeholders in 2015 approved funding for six open space preservation projects, at a cost of nearly $1 million and totaling more than 113 acres in five Morris County towns. Included were two projects in Washington Township and one each in the town of Boonton, Hanover, Jefferson and Mendham Borough.

More than 13,500 acres of open space have been preserved with the assistance of grant funding from the county program since its inception in 1993, according to Murray.

The deadline for submitting 2016 open space applications and appraisals is Friday, June 17.

Additional information may be obtained by contacting the Morris County Division of Planning and Preservation at 973-829-8120.