Wednesday, September 20th, 2017

MORRIS COUNTY’S PRESERVATION TRUST FUND HELPS FINANCE PURCHASE OF PUZIO FARM 

The Township of Parsippany and Morris County Board of Freeholders are announcing the long-sought acquisition and permanent preservation of the six-acre Puzio Farm, a key natural tract that is vital to the creation of a 35-acre greenway along Knoll Road in the Township.

This former tree farm is located at 389 Knoll Road in a mostly developed part of the county’s most populous municipality. The Puzio tract connects the Knollwood School to properties already acquired by the Township for open space.

Puzio Farm

Puzio Farm

Parsippany has been actively working to expand the greenway along Knoll Road to include Knollwood School, which is on a 17-acre tract, with an additional seven acres of parkland behind it.

“The Puzio family has been in negotiations with Parsippany for more than 20 years. The Puzio Farm is an important property, both historically and from a preservation perspective, and I am proud to say that my administration was able to close the deal,” said Parsippany Mayor James Barberio.

“The County open space grant demonstrates the county government’s commitment to the preservation of important open space in Parsippany, helping to fund this project while permitting the Township to leverage its open space fund for other important open space projects,” said Mayor Barberio.

photo: Signing the closing papers: Standing (l/r) Coucnilmen Lou Valori and Mike dePierro; and Sitting (l/r) attorney Robert Garofalo, Mayor Barberio, and municipal attorney Dean Donatelli

Signing the closing papers: Standing (l/r) Councilmen Lou Valori and Mike dePierro; and Sitting (l/r) attorney Robert Garofalo, Mayor Barberio, and municipal attorney Dean Donatelli

Ownership of the Puzio tract, with its proximity to other municipal open space, creates an opportunity to create for hiking trails, environmental education programs and outdoor classrooms where students could focus on agriculture, the environment and water supply issues.

The site also could accommodate several playing fields, which are in high demand.

The Township, which paid $1.6 million for the property, received a $772,500 grant from the Morris County Open Space Preservation Fund to assist with the purchase.

Freeholder Christine Myers

Morris County Freeholder Christine Myers

“The high quality of life in Morris County is directly connected to the preservation of open space, as well as farmland and historic properties, financed by residents of Parsippany and the entire county through funding specially dedicated for these purposes,’’ said Morris County Freeholder Christine Myers, who is the county governing board’s liaison on open space issues.

“Open spaces in Parsippany and across the county are used to create parks, connect trails, offer recreational opportunities for our residents, and ensure that have green spaces in each of our towns as places to think or breathe,’’ Myers added.

Including the Puzio Farm purchase, Parsippany has received 10 grants from the voter-approved Morris County Open Space Preservation Trust totaling $6.8 million to help preserve 102 acres.

Puzio Farm is one of few remaining natural spaces left in Parsippany and was coveted by developers for potential residential construction. Recently, Parsippany acquired the 130-acre Forge Pond tract, which includes a historic dam and forge site.

Mayor Barberio also negotiated municipal acquisition of some 11 acres of upland slopes and ridgelines along the northern and western boundaries of the Waterview property, preserving the area as open space.

“Despite facing tremendous pressure from developers and the current uncertainty of the affordable housing situation, my administration consistently prioritizes the preservation of historic and open space properties as important and valuable resources for our community,” said Mayor Barberio.

For more information on Morris County’s preservation program, visit: https://planning.morriscountynj.gov/divisions/prestrust/openspace/

For more on Parsippany-Troy Hills, visit: http://www.parsippany.net/