MORRIS COUNTY, NJ – The Morris County Board of County Commissioners unanimously voted Wednesday to approve two grants for more than $300,000 to construct recreational trails in two towns recommended by the county’s Trail Construction Grant Advisory Committee.
The 2023 grants were awarded to Madison’s Memorial Park and Morristown’s Budd Street Pedestrian Trail.
The Madison grant for $169,203 will fund Phase 3 of a project to create a 0.6-mile stretch of gravel, boardwalk and woodland trail from Memorial Park to provide access to other recreational amenities and businesses around Main Street.
The Morristown project was approved for a $134,838 grant to create a new 0.26-mile trail to connect an existing sidewalk network along Budd Street and Miller Street at Budd Street Park. It will provide a link to a playground, basketball courts and ball fields.
“Our Trails Grant program has become popular as Morris County residents value the benefits the trails offer. Notably, the grants not only enhance long hiking trails but also improve local parks and greenways, further contributing to our residents’ cherished quality of life. The expanding trail network, which includes the recently opened ADA-compliant trail in Madison, provide everyone the opportunity to appreciate open spaces, whether for exercise, recreation or simply to relax in the outdoors a little bit,” said Commissioner Stephen Shaw, the board liaison to Morris County’s Office of Planning and Preservation.
A total of nine municipalities signaled interest in the trail grants this year but seven were withdrawn or tabled for reasons including design issues, easement issues or were not construction ready.
Including the $304,000 awarded for the Madison and Morristown projects, the Commissioners have approved 48 grants recommended by the Commissioner-appointed committee. Morris County has dedicated nearly $5 million towards establishing more than 27 miles of trails since grants were first provided under the Trail Construction Grant Program in 2016.
Funding for trail projects is derived from Morris County’s voter-approved Morris County Preservation Trust Fund, established in 1992 and modified with voter approval in 2002 to establish a Historic Preservation Fund. In 2014, voters approved a ballot question by a margin of 3 to 1 to modify the fund again, allowing trail development as an allowable use for a portion of the trust fund money.
Purpose of Funding: The purpose of the grant program is to provide recreational trail use opportunities that benefit communities and enhance the quality of life for the residents of Morris County.
Who is Eligible: Any of the 39 municipalities in the County of Morris are eligible to apply, with a limit of one application per funding cycle.
Permissible Uses and Projects: Construction of new trails for both motorized and non-motorized uses are permitted, in addition to trail enhancements that may include improved trails to accommodate increased volume and/or compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Funding is considered only if the land on which a trail is to be constructed is:
- Located in Morris County.
- Owned by the municipality in full and or via permanent easements.
- Permanently 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.
For more information, visit Morris County’s Trail Construction Grant Program website.