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.

Stobaeous Trail

Phase I of Florham Park’s Stobaeous Trail project was awarded in 2016. This was the first Trail Construction Grant project to be completed.

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.

Trail under construction

Harding received a 2016 Trail Grant for a trail in Bayne Park/Kirby Municipal Campus

“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:

  • Construction of new trails (motorized and non-motorized)
  • Trail Enhancements (improved trails to accommodate increased volume and/or ADA compliance)

Funding is considered only if the land on which a trail is to be constructed is:

  • Located in Morris County
  • Permanent preserved public parkland or private land with dedicated easements for public recreation use
  • On land with a permanent easement for public trail/recreational provided to the municipality