MORRIS COUNTY, NJ – Nearly $1.8 million in grants for recreational trails will be available to Morris County’s 39 municipalities through the 2022 Morris County Trail Construction Grant Program, which opened its seventh annual application process today.
The Morris County Board of County Commissioners has issued more than $4 million to build and enhance a growing network of local trails since 2016, after voters overwhelming approved dedicating a portion of the Morris County Preservation Trust Fund annually toward recreational trail development.
“Use of our recreational facilities, especially the number of people taking to our trails, remains higher than ever before. Our growing trail system became a haven during the intense early days of the pandemic in 2020, and since then it has become a staple in their recreational routines. Our Trail Construction Grant Program, which is only in its seventh year, has clearly enhanced Morris County’s already excellent parks and open spaces,” said Commissioner Stephen Shaw, the board liaison to the trail program.
No major changes have been made to the 2022 grant program. However, we want to remind applications of the noteworthy changes made last year including:
- Funding Available for Design & Permitting Phase
- Funding Available for two Construction Categories – 1) Minor & 2) Major
- Pre-Application Meetings Required for ALL Submissions
- Grantees have 2-Years to complete projects
“The introduction of the Design and Permitting phase resulted in several first-time applicants receiving funding to plan and develop trails for their residents in a cost effective manner. We look forward to the continued increase in the number of municipalities participating in the trail program creating an inter-connected network of local trails throughout the county.’’ said Betty Cass-Schmidt, Chairwoman of the Trail Construction Grant Advisory Committee.
A Virtual Application Workshop will be held on Tuesday May 24th, 2022 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. to review the overall program and application process.
To attend the virtual meeting, hosted via Webex, click here.
Meeting number: 2633 278 0258
To join by video system:
You can also dial 220.127.116.11 and enter your meeting number.
To join by phone:
Dial 1-408-418-9388 (United States Toll)
Access code: 263 327 80258
A recording of the workshop will be posted on the program website for those who cannot attend.
Reminder of 2021 Changes
The program rules, procedures and applications have been revised to accommodate the changes made to the program in 2021. Separate applications are required for each funding category.
The two-step submission process remains the same:
Step 1, Letters of Intent are due on Thursday June 30, 2022.
Step 2, Full Applications are due by Friday July 29, 2022.
Permissible Uses and Projects, include:
- Construction of new trails of various types (motorized and non-motorized)
- Enhancement of existing trails (improvements to design and/or surface type to accommodate increased use or to make the trail ADA compliant)
Funding only will be considered if the land on which a trail project is to be constructed is:
- Located in Morris County
- Owned by the municipality
- Permanent preserved public parkland or private land with dedicated easements for public recreation use
- On land with a permanent easement for public trail/recreational provided to the municipality
- In full municipal control of all land and/or easements on which trail(s) are to be funded
Various aspects of project development are not eligible for funding.
They include, but are not limited to the following: land condemnation, land acquisition, sidewalks, improvements or construction to roads, lighting, running tracks (tracks used for races involving athletes at track meets), law enforcement personnel and activities, promotional materials (shirts, caps, pins, etc.)
The minimum grant amount is $5,000 for all funding categories. The maximum grant award varies based on the category limit is defined as “no one award shall receive more than 60 percent of the funds available during each year’s funding cycle.” However, this exception can be waived if a project is deemed to be a regionally significant project.
The Trail Grant program operates on a reimbursement basis. Municipal applicants are limited to one application request per funding cycle. The program requires municipalities to contribute a 20 percent match toward the costs of their trail projects.
Grant awards are expected to be announced before the end of the year.
Application materials and other resources are available on the program website, including a program Fact Sheet, which provides a brief summary.