Posted on November 09, 2022
Boonton, Boonton Township, Hanover, Mount Olive & Wharton Sites submitted for grants
The Morris County Open Spaces Trust Fund Committee tonight recommended that the County Board of Commissioners approve $2.13 million to acquire and retain a total of 34.6 acres in Open Space 2022 projects extending over five municipalities.
The recommendations, covering properties in Boonton, Boonton Township, Hanover, Wharton and Mount Olive, were presented to the commissioners with recommendations for project approval at the council’s public work session in Morristown. The plots targeted for preservation range from 0.3 acres to almost 19 acres.
The commissioners will make a formal decision later this year on whether to accept the recommendations.
“It’s an important part of what we do here in Morris County as a Board of Commissioners. Each year we carefully consider whether to preserve areas with our open space funding, as well as whether to historic sites need to be restored and our trail systems expanded. This is part of a regular analysis of how best to use trust funds to protect and enhance the quality of life enjoyed by all our residents. Our park is second to none, our successful historic preservation trust fund is in its 20se year and since 1994, we have maintained nearly 17,730 acres of open spacewhich is bigger than the township of Parsippany,” said Commissioner Director Tayfun Selen.
Jay Thomson, who chairs the 15-member Morris County Open Spaces Trust Fund Committee, presented the recommendations to the commissioners.
“It’s been another great year for the Open Space program in Morris County. The county continues to show tremendous support for its cities by helping them be proactive in preserving open spaces so its residents have the opportunity to have a place to enjoy the outdoors close to home This program is one of our county’s crown jewels that we can all be proud of Morris County continues to be a great place to live and work. said Thomson.
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 levy. The funding source is also used for farmland and historic preservation, acquiring county parks, building trails, and purchasing flood-prone residential properties.
Since 1994, the Morris County Open Space Program has awarded $320,060,878 in grants for 490 applications. Applicants successfully closed 421 of these projects, preserving 17,728.24 acres. All of this is in addition to the lands that have been preserved and enhanced through the other programs of the Preservation Trust Fund: farmland preservation, historic preservation, flood mitigation and trail construction..
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR OPEN SPACES 2022:
Historic Hub Property Adjacent to Grace Lord Park
- Applicant: Town of Boonton
- .30 acres
- Recommended reward: $175,000
- Description – This property is located northeast of Rockaway Street and Morris Avenue and contains the historic remains of a train hub. It sits directly south of Grace Lord Park, a public parking lot and conservation land containing the Rockaway River. The City plans to restore the hub and integrate it into the larger adjacent park. Boonton is actively enhancing Grace Lord Park with the restoration of its many historic features and is undertaking a comprehensive trail plan that will connect the hub to other natural and historic points of interest.
- Applicant: Township of Boonton
- 18.68 acres
- Recommended reward: $280,000
- Description – Located southwest of Powerville Road and Rockaway Valley Road, this property is adjacent to parks operated by the Morris County Parks Commission as part of the Pyramid Mountain Natural Historic Area. The ecologically sensitive forested tract serves as habitat for threatened and endangered species and contains a tributary of the Rockaway River. The acquisition would improve trail connections throughout the region, with connections to Pyramid Mountain Natural Historic Area, Rockaway Valley Airfield Fields and surrounding preserved properties.
Bee Meadow Greenway – Phase II
- Applicant: Township of Hanover
- 1.64 acres
- Recommended reward: $220,000
- Description – Located west of Reynolds Avenue, south of Clay Street, this acquisition continues the expansion of Bee Meadow Park in the heart of Hanover Township. The flat, open property complements other acquisitions in the Bee Meadow Greenway. Hannover plans to use the site for picnics and short-term light recreational activities. The long-term use includes recreation grounds and support facilities in conjunction with the existing Bee Meadow Park facilities.
Budd Lake Wharf Extension
- Applicant: Township of Mount Olive
- 9.14 acres
- Recommended reward: $82,000
- Description – This property is located off Sand Shore Road near its intersection with Netcong Road. Mount Olive plans to use the property to expand public access to Budd Lake by installing a fishing pier and boat dock. The acquisition would connect township-owned properties on either side of this lot to create 340 feet of combined frontage along Sand Shore Road.
Acquisition of land for the creation of the Orchard mine park (photo top right)
- Applicant: Borough of Wharton
- 4.84 acres
- Recommended reward: $1,373,000
- Description – This property is located on North Main Street, across from Harry Shupe Boulevard, next to Washington Forge Pond. Wharton plans to turn the property into a passive recreation park that showcases and complements the pond. The design of the park will utilize the natural features and history of the site, including waterfront pedestrian access via trails; the use of an observation deck with seats; an esplanade at the approximate location of the Orchard mine; the use of meadows and a native garden along the lake; a rain garden; and an avenue of trees along the entrance to the park.