RANDOLPH TOWNSHIP, NJ (Morris County) – Morris County Commissioner Director Stephen H. Shaw joined Morris Habitat for Humanity, Randolph Township officials and a host of other dignitaries and supporters for the groundbreaking on a 25-unit condominium project on Bennett Avenue that will provide housing for low-to-moderate income families.
“It’s really incredible to see what Habitat is doing … What a tremendous accomplishment it is to take on a redevelopment project of this magnitude,” said Shaw, noting the housing is being built on the former E.A. Porter industrial site on the border of Victory Gardens.
“I always liked the way our 16th President put it, Abraham Lincoln, who said: ‘The strength of a nation can be told in its housing,’ ” Shaw said.
Blair Schleicher Wilson, chief executive officer of Morris Habitat for Humanity, presided over the event held Monday at the Randolph site, and speakers included Assemblywoman Aura Dunn. Also in attendance were Dover Mayor Carolyn Blackman, Randolph Mayor Mark H. Forstenhausler and Randolph Council members Christine Carey, Joanne Veech and Lance Tkacs.
Director Shaw, a contractor by trade, praised Morris Habitat for Humanity and Randolph Township for the undertaking, noting the non-profit organization took on a job private contractors would have a difficult time accomplishing – turning a former industrial site into a neighborhood of 25 homes that will change the lives of those living there and enhance the surrounding residential community.
Randolph Township acquired the 2.5-acre property in 2008 through a tax foreclosure, handled the remediation needed and is donating the property to Habitat for Humanity as well as some funding to construct each unit. The project is located next to other residential structures near South Salem Street and Franklin Road in Randolph and Victory Gardens, allowing the units to access existing water lines in Dover through the Rockaway Valley Regional Sewerage Authority.
The first phase of the affordable housing project will consist of 13 units with one, two and three bedroom units available to low and moderate-income families. A total of 25 affordable units will be built across four buildings, with a community center, a playground and a gazebo proposed.
The project also is being supported by Bayer, GAF and New Jersey Natural Gas, all of which had representatives attending the groundbreaking.
Morris Habitat for Humanity has launched a fundraising effort for the project that allows donors to buy bricks – each one 4-by-8 inches and costing $125 – that will be used to comprise the pathways between the residential buildings into the new community. In June, the Mountain Lakes High School Class of 2021 raised over $10,000 toward building one home through the sale of the bricks – a point noted by Shaw, who lives in Mountain Lakes.