Wednesday, August 12th, 2009

Applications seeking to preserve 1,053 acres of open space and parkland in 13 towns have been received by the Morris County Preservation Trust.

The applications were filed by nine municipalities and five non-profit organizations who are requesting a total of $14.2 million from the county’s Preservation Trust Fund.

The Preservation Trust Fund is funded by a tax, which this year is 3 cents on each $100 of assessed property value.

Mount Olive and The Land Conservancy of New Jersey have filed a joint application seeking the largest amount, $2.6 million, for 536.5 acres of the South Branch Preserve in Mount Olive.

Madison is asking for $2 million to help the borough purchase the playing fields at the now closed Bayley Ellard High School.

Other towns filing applications for open space funds were Denville, Florham Park, Hanover, Montville, Morris Township, Pequannock and Randolph.

Besides The Land Conservancy of New Jersey, the other non-profit groups that filed applications are The Trust for Public Land, the Canal Society of New Jersey, Schiff Natural Lands Trust and the New Jersey Conservation Foundation.

A 15-member committee will now thoroughly review the 18 applications, visit the sites and make funding recommendations to the Morris County Freeholders in November.

The freeholders in 2008 approved $23 million in funding for 21 municipal and non-profit projects encompassing 711 acres spread over 16 communities.