Posted Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

Morris County has received 38 applications for funds under the county’s Historic Preservation Trust Fund.

That is the highest number of applications received since the historic preservation program began in 2003, according to Ray Chang, director of the Preservation Trust.

The applications request a total of more than $4.7 million, which is twice as much as the $2.3 million that is available this year, Chang said.

Chang attributed the dramatic increase in applications to a three-phase application process instituted a few years ago requiring applicants to prepare planning documents before construction funding would be considered.

“The applicants are required to prepare a preservation plan in the first year, followed by the preparation of construction documents in year two, before they can apply for more significant construction funding,” Chang said. “This year, many historic preservation projects reached the third phase, thus pushing the request level to a record high.”

The Historic Preservation Trust Fund Review Board will now thoroughly evaluate each of the applications and make funding recommendations to the freeholder board in late June.

The Morris County Freeholders established the fund after voters approved a public
question in November 2002 allowing the county to amend its Open Space Trust Fund to include the acquisition, stabilization, restoration or preservation of historic

To be eligible for matching grant consideration, a historic resource must be listed, or certified as eligible for listing on the New Jersey and the National Register of Historic Places. Eligible applicants are municipalities, qualified non-profit organizations and the county, Chang said.

The freeholders in 2011 allocated $2.57 million from the Historic Preservation Trust Fund to help preserve 24 historic sites in 15 towns throughout Morris County.