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Lincoln Park taps Morris County’s open space trust fund for first time

LINCOLN PARK, NJ (Morris County) – Lincoln Park for the first time has employed a grant from the Morris County Open Space Preservation Trust Fund to purchase an abandoned commercial property that will be returned to its natural state and permanently preserved as a green space in the borough.

A county preservation grant of $82,500, along with borough open space dollars and state Blue Acres funds, has been use to purchase a nearly one-acre property located off Route 202/Boonton Turnpike and Midwood Road, at the oxbow section — or U-shaped bend — in the Pompton River.

The property in question is the long-abandoned Maggie Moore’s Pub, which closed about a decade ago and has since been vacant. Lincoln Park plans to demolish the structure and parking lot, and return the site to a natural state to function as a flood mitigation and storage area, and wildlife habitat.

The acquisition complements the borough’s efforts to restore this general area for flood control purposes through both the county’s and state’s flood buyout programs for residences in this section of town, which is a priority area for flood mitigation.

While Lincoln Park has been an active participant in the county’s flood mitigation program, this is the first time it has received an open space program grant in that program’s 25-year history.

In this instance, since the property in question is commercial it would not technically qualify for the county’s flood mitigation program. So the borough, instead, preserved it as open space but with a similar long-term goal of returning it to its natural state and as a flood storage area.

“This project will help get county residents out of harm’s way in places likely to be struck by future floods,’’ Morris County Freeholder Stephen Shaw said. “This project and other flood mitigating buyouts also ease the burden of first responders, who get the call to rescue families from flood waters.’’

“I am happy and grateful that Lincoln Park has been able to secure a grant from the Morris County Open Space Preservation Trust Fund for the first time in the history of this valuable program,” Lincoln Park Mayor David Runfeldt said. “This acquisition, in addition to the flood mitigation benefits, also removes a blot on the natural landscape at County Route 511 (Boonton Turnpike).

“I would like to thank the Morris County Freeholders and the members of the Morris County Open Space Trust Fund Committee for their consideration and help in funding this very important purchase.”

While Lincoln Park has been an active participant in the county’s flood mitigation program, this is the first time it has received an open space program grant in that program’s 25-year history.

In this instance, since the property in question is commercial it would not technically qualify for the county’s flood mitigation program. The borough, instead, has preserved it as open space but with a similar long-term goal of returning it to a flood storage area.

Morris County, the state Department of Environmental Protection, Army Corps of Engineers, and Rutgers University are partnering with Lincoln Park for a habitat restoration plan for this area of the borough.

Funding from Morris County’s innovative flood mitigation program was used in May and June to preserve two flood-prone Lincoln Park residential properties, to be demolished and serve as natural flood storage areas. A total of 78 county flood buyout grants have been issued for home purchases in flood-prone areas across Morris County, including 26 in Lincoln Park.

The two latest flood mitigation  purchases from willing sellers in Lincoln Park were partially financed by $258,000 in county grants. The homes eventually will be demolished and the properties will revert back to open space that can capture and absorb flood water.

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Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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