Posted Tuesday, November 20th, 2018
The Morris County Board of Freeholders today received a recommendation to fund a half-dozen recreational trail projects in six towns across the county at a cost of $797,714 as part of the three-year-old Morris County Trail Construction Grant Program.
Projects suggested by a Freeholder Board-appointed committee include county grants ranging from $15,523 for Phase II of the Stobaeous Trail Extension project in Florham Park to $296,825 for the Lake Rogerene Trail project in Mount Arlington.
Trail grants also were recommended for projects in Hanover, Long Hill, Madison, and Washington Township.
The freeholders are expected to formally vote on the grant recommendations at the board’s Dec. 12 meeting in Morristown.
“Investments in the county’s recreational infrastructure have a positive impact on the quality of life for all residents, helping to make Morris County a great place to live and work and locate a business,’’ said Freeholder Christine Myers, who is the board’s liaison to Planning and Preservation. “Enhancing our recreational infrastructure also enhances tourism options, providing even more recreational opportunities for visitors to Morris County.’’
Funding for these recommended trail projects would come from the county’s voter-approved Preservation Trust Fund. In 2014, voters approved a ballot question by a margin of 3 to to make trail development an allowable use of a portion of the trust fund money. The first grants were awarded in 2016.
“This is the program’s third year and it continues to evolve each year, where we learn from each successive year, and modify the program accordingly,” said Betty Cass-Schmidt, Chairwoman of the Trail Construction Grant Advisory Committee.
Cass-Schmidt explained that the Committee, in an effort to help applicants succeed, hold annual pre-application meetings to help guide their efforts and share lessons learned on what makes a good project and a good application.
“We found that Morris County municipalities are very interested in the program and eager to learn more about trail design and construction,’’ said Cass-Schmidt, who noted that a trail training session held in the spring drew 50 people representing 25 of the county’s 39 municipalities.
This county program award grants annually to qualified applicants from the county’s 39 municipalities to build new recreational trails on municipal open space, thereby enhancing recreational opportunities for all Morris County residents.
Including the 2018 award recommendations, the Trail Construction Grant Program has awarded 25 grants totaling $2,041,877 since 2016.
To see the full list of 2018 projects, visit: https://planning.morriscountynj.gov/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/2018-trail-recommendations.pdf
For the 2016-18 summary of projects and spending, visit: https://planning.morriscountynj.gov/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/trail-construction-grant-award-summary.pdf
Cass Schmidt presented the 2018 grant recommendations to the freeholders this afternoon at their work session in Morristown.
She explained that only construction-ready projects are considered for funding, and that the program operates on a reimbursement basis. The program requires municipalities to prepare their projects for construction and to contribute a minimum of 20 percent match, which can be in the form of financial or in-kind match.
Permissible Uses and Projects, include:
Funding is considered only if the land on which a trail is to be constructed is: