Thursday, March 23rd, 2017
JUNE 16 DEADLINE TO APPLY
The Morris County Department of Planning and Public Works, Division of Planning and Preservation, has announced that the 2017 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.
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.
Funding for the grants comes from 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 helps finance farmland and historic preservation, county parkland acquisition, recreational trails project, and the purchase of residential properties prone to flooding.
“Preserving our natural areas is vitally important to maintaining our wonderful quality of life in Morris County,’’ said Freeholder Christine Myers, who is the county governing board’s liaison on preservation issues. “Our parks, trails, and nature areas offer a great variety of recreational opportunities for our residents, and just importantly, ensures we maintain the beautiful countryside that is a hallmark of our county.
The freeholders in 2016 approved funding for six preservation projects at a cost of nearly $3.75 million and totaling more than 270 acres in five Morris County towns. Included were two projects in Denville, and one each in Parsippany, Kinnelon, Randolph, and the first-ever grant award to Mt. Arlington.
They ranged from six-acres in a heavily populated section of Parsippany — and one of the last remaining undeveloped large open spaces in town, to 179-acres of forested land in Kinnelon that is contiguous to a county greenway and a local park in neighboring Pequannock.
More than 13,750 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 2017 open space applications and appraisals is Friday, June 16. The Morris County Open Space Trust Fund Committee will visit proposed sites in September, with final presentations made in October, and recommendations made to the freeholder board in early November.
You can obtain additional information by contacting the Morris County Division of Planning and Preservation at 973-829-8120.