MORRIS COUNTY – The Morris County Council of Commissioners last night approved $ 1.3 million to acquire and preserve a total of 43 acres under open space projects in 2021 spanning four cities.
The projects, recommended on November 10 by the Morris County Open Space Trust Fund Committee, were approved at the recent public board meeting in Morristown. In addition to the Parsippany property, other properties include Dover, Montville, and Chatham Township, ranging in size from one-fifth of an acre to nearly 20 acres.
APPROVED OPEN SPACE PROJECTS FOR MORRIS COUNTY GRANTS:
Acquisition of property in Kosut
• Applicant: Township of Parsippany-Troy Hills
• 5.44 acres
• Reward: $ 450,000
• Description: This property is located near Knoll Road surrounded by land to the north and south that was previously unspoiled and is owned by the Township of Parsippany as part of the 11.1 acre Fieldfair property. The property sits across from the watershed lands surrounding the Boonton Reservoir (also known as the Jersey City Reservoir), and was the subject of a $ 659,000 grant under the Grants Program. 2020 Open Space. The Township of Parsippany is considering converting the property into a park and recreation facility.
Acquisition of the Jean Drive reserve
• Applicant: Canton de Montville
• 19.62 acres
• Price: $ 465,000
• Description: This property is located in the Critical Water Resources District of the Towaco Valley Aquifer, between Old Lane and Jean Drive. Protecting this aquifer and its associated water supply lands is a priority for the Township of Montville, which is considering passive recreation for the property, including hiking, walking and bird watching. The acquisition would also extend township-owned land in the region.
Acquisition of a property on East Blackwell Street
• Applicant: City of Dover
• 0.20 acres
• Reward: $ 35,000
• Description: This vacant residential lot is located on the south side of East Blackwell Street at the T-junction of Sammis Avenue and adjacent to a stocked section of Rockaway River trout. Dover is considering passive recreation for the property, which is close to Dover city center and would provide convenient outdoor space for all to enjoy.
McDon Fen Property Acquisition
• Plaintiff: Trust for public lands
• Located in Chatham Township
• 17.74 acres
• Reward: $ 350,000
• Description: The acquisition involves two adjoining properties that face, in part, Southern Boulevard. They adjoin the southeast end of Nash Park, a popular local park with amenities that include a playground, basketball court, bleachers, and several courts. The larger of the two properties, largely forested and swampy, contains a tributary of Black Creek that flows into the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge and ultimately into the Passaic River.
• The Township of Chatham will own the property upon acquisition and use it for the Nash Park expansion.
Funding for open space acquisitions and preservation comes from the voter-approved Morris County Open Space & Farmland Preservation Trust Fund, which is generated by a special county tax. The funding source is also used for farmland and historic preservation, the acquisition of county parks, the construction of trails and the purchase of residential properties prone to flooding.
Prior to last night’s approval, the Morris County Open Space Program had awarded $ 318,760,878 in grants for 486 applications since 1994. To date, applicants have successfully closed 416 of those projects, preserving 17,668 acres – a combined area greater than the Township of Parsippany and almost as large as the Township of Chester. This is in addition to the lands that have been preserved and enhanced through other preservation trust fund programs: farmland preservation, historic preservation, flood mitigation, and trail building.