Posted Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

Applications seeking to preserve 589 acres of open space and parkland in 15 towns have been received by the Morris County Preservation Trust.

The 21 applications were filed by nine municipalities and seven non-profit organizations who are requesting a total of $23.6 million from the county’s Preservation Trust Fund.

The Preservation Trust is funded by a dedicated tax of 2 cents on each $100 of assessed property value. It is expected the Trust will be able to distribute approximately $15 million this year.

The Schiff Natural Lands Trust is seeking the largest amount, $5 million, for the 125.1 acre Pleasant Valley Mills Farm-Wilmerding in Mendham Township.

The Harding Land Trust is asking for $3.45 million to help purchase the 45.5 acre Primrose Farm Estates in Harding Township.

Other non-profit groups that filed open space applications are the New Jersey Conservation Foundation; The Land Conservancy of New Jersey; The Trust for Public Land; the Canal Society of New Jersey; and Protect Our Wetlands, Waters and Woods.

Towns filing applications for open space funds include Mountain Lakes, which is seeking $1.8 million for the King of Kings Back Acreage acquisition that totals 8.2 acres.

Chatham Township filed four applications, including one for $1.5 million for the 21.7acre Averett Farm.

Other towns seeking open space funds are Denville, East Hanover, Lincoln Park, Mine Hill, Morristown, Mount Olive and Pequannock.

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