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Posted Friday, December 13th, 2019

The Garden State Preservation Trust has approved and recommended to the New Jersey State Legislature nearly $87 million in funding for projects to develop or update parks, playgrounds and fields, including $2.7 million for seven projects in Morris County, the state Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner announced today.Morris Parks and Six Morris Towns Recommended for 2019 State Green Acres Grants

Included are projects in Chatham Township, Hanover, Madison, Mendham Township, Parsippany, Washington Township, plus a grant for the Morris County Park Commission.

The Legislature still must formally approve legislation to formally appropriate the funds but Governor Phil Murphy and DEP Commissioner Catherine McCabe have recommended the projects for approval by the Legislature through the DEP’s Green Acres Program.

The Garden State Preservation Trust approved funding for municipal and county land acquisition projects,local development of parks and recreation facilities, local stewardship projects, acquisition projects by nonprofit organizations, recreational development, and nonprofit stewardship projects.

In many instances, state Green Acres funds are bundled with Morris County Open Space Trust Fund dollars and municipal open space dollars to finance projects.

The Morris County Board of Freeholders last month unanimously approve county preservation grants totaling $1.96 million for six 2019 open space projects, totaling 164 acres located in six Morris County towns: Chester Township, Denville, Jefferson, Morris Township, Mount Olive and Roxbury.

“As we celebrate 25 years of the county’s Open Space Trust Fund, this Freeholder Board and boards who have preceded us recognize that the deliberate and thoughtful preservation of open space throughout the County is part of what makes Morris County a great place to live, work, play and raise a family,’’ Freeholder Stephen Shaw said last month.

Land acquisition projects in Morris County recommended for 2019 state Green Acres funding include:

  • Chatham Township, $467,253
  • Hanover Township, $200,000
  • Madison, $500,000
  • Washington Township Land Trust, $250,000

Park development and improvement projects in Morris County recommended for 2019 state Green Acres funding include:Morris Parks and Six Morris Towns Recommended for 2019 State Green Acres Grants

  • Mendham Township, Historic Park at Pitney Farm, $377,500
  • Parsippany, Smith Field Improvements, $750,000
  • Morris County Park Commission, Frelinghuysen Arboretum, $198,715

Mendham Township, Historic Park at Pitney Farm
The township intends to restore and develop a seven-acre preserved historic property, converting it into a handicap-accessible public park. The project will include landscape restoration, including removal of invasive plants and replanting with Highlands Council-approved native plants; woodland enhancement; installation of rain-garden-like meadow grasses; trails constructed for mobility-restricted individuals; historical informational signage; and grassy areas for passive recreation, picnicking and general outdoor enjoyment.

Parsippany-Troy Hills Township, Smith Field Park Improvements
The township is proposing to construct active recreational facilities at the undeveloped Smith Field Park South located off Barbara Street. The proposed development consists of a synthetic grass cricket pitch/multipurpose facility which includes stadium lighting, restroom facilities, stadium seating and a parking facility.
Morris County Park Commission, Frelinghuysen Arboretum
Morris County seeks to fund two site improvements at the Frelinghuysen Arboretum on East Hanover Avenue in Morris Township: the trail network and meadow restoration.

The county will improve the paved trail at high-use areas around the mansion and formal gardens, while trails in more distant portions of the grounds will be improved with pervious
surfaces to keep with the rustic character of the woodland. One section of the trail will include a boardwalk that travels over riparian areas that have experienced erosion adjacent to wetlands.

The meadows have become dominated by aggressive, non-native invasive species diminishing the aesthetic and ecological values of these meadow and stream bank areas. This project will aid in total restoration by utilizing a wide spectrum of techniques to prepare the soil for reseeding of native grasses, shrubs and native seed mixes.

Visit the DEP’s Green Acres website for more information all all projects recommended across the region and state.