MORRIS COUNTY, NJ – The Morris County Board of County Commissioners Monday night approved $1.3 million to acquire and preserve a total of 43 acres in 2021 Open Space projects spanning four towns.
The projects, recommended on Nov. 10 by the Morris County’s Open Space Trust Fund Committee, were approved during the board’s public meeting last night in Morristown. The properties involved are located in Dover, Montville, Chatham Township and Parsippany Township, and range in sizes from one-fifth of an acre to nearly 20 acres.
Open space projects approves for Morris County grants:
Jean Drive Preserve Acquisition
- Applicant: Township of Montville
- 19.62 acres
- Award: $465,000
- Description: This property lies in the Towaco Valley Aquifer Critical Water Resources District, between Old Lane and Jean Drive. The protection of this aquifer and its associated water supply lands is a priority for Montville Township, which envisions passive recreation for the property, including hiking, walking and bird watching. Acquisition also would expand township owned lands in the region.
East Blackwell Street Property Acquisition
- Applicant: Town of Dover
- 0.20 acres
- Award: $35,000
- Description: This vacant residential lot is located on the south side of East Blackwell Street at the T-intersection of Sammis Avenue and adjacent to a trout-stocked section of the Rockaway River. Dover envisions passive recreation for the property, which is near Dover’s downtown area and would provide a convenient outdoor space for all to enjoy.
McDon Fen Property Acquisition
- Applicant: Trust for Public Land
- Located in Chatham Township
- 17.74 acres
- Award: $350,000
- Description: The acquisition involves two contiguous properties that front, in part, Southern Boulevard. They abut the southeast end of Nash Park, a popular local park with amenities including a playground, basketball court, bleachers and multiple fields. The larger of the two, largely wooded and marshy properties contains a tributary of Black Brook that drains into the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge and ultimately the Passaic River.
- Chatham Township will own the property upon acquisition and utilize it for the expansion of Nash Park.
Kosut Property Acquisition
- Applicant: Township of Parsippany-Troy Hills
- 5.44 acres
- Award: $450,000
- Description: This property is located off Knoll Road, surrounded by land north and south that was previously preserved and is owned by Parsippany Township as part of the 11.1-acre Fieldfair Property. The property is located across the street from watershed lands surrounding the Boonton Reservoir (also known as the Jersey City Reservoir), and it was the subject of a $659,000 grant through the 2020 Open Space grant program. Parsippany Township envisions developing the property into a park and recreational facility.
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 also is used for farmland and historic preservation, county parkland acquisition, trail construction, 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 on 416 of those projects, preserving 17,668 acres – a combined acreage larger than Parsippany Township and almost as large as Chester Township. This is all in addition to lands that have been preserved and improved through the other Preservation Trust Fund Programs: Farmland Preservation, Historic Preservation, Flood Mitigation and Trails Construction.