Morris County 2018 Open Space Preservation Grants Now Being Accepted

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The Morris County Department of Planning and Public Works, Division of Planning and Preservation, has announced that the 2018 grant application for funding of open space projects under the Morris County Preservation Trust are now available online on the Planning & Public Works – Open Space Preservation website.

photo of the Cataract Park tract in Washington Township, which received county grant dollars in 2017

Cataract Park tract in Washington Township, which received county grant dollars in 2017

Any of Morris County’s 39 municipalities and qualified charitable conservancies are eligible to apply for grant funding, said Barbara Murray, open space program coordinator.

Funding for the grants comes from the county’s Preservation Trust Fund, which generates revenues through a voter-approved special county tax.

The tax, set at 7/8 of a cent per $100 of tax assessment, should generate about $8 million this year. Of that money, the county allocates 2/8 of a cent to the Park Improvement Trust used by the Park Commission to restore facilities and 5/8 of a cent is allocated to the other Preservation Trust Programs.

photo of Jonathans Wood natural area

Jonathans Woods preservation project in Denville received a 2017 county open space grant

In addition to open space projects, the county’s preservation fund also helps finance farmland and historic preservation, county parkland acquisition, recreational trails project, and the purchase of residential properties prone to

Morris County 2018 Open Space Preservation Grants Now Being Accepted

Trail through the Rockaway River Wildlife management Area in Jefferson. That preservation effort received a 2017 county grant.


“Preserving our natural areas is vitally important to maintaining our great quality of life in Morris County,’’ said Freeholder Christine Myers, who is the county governing board’s liaison on preservation issues.

“Our parks, trails, and nature areas offer a great variety of recreational opportunities for our residents, sometimes just giving us a place to breathe and think, so it is vital to ensure that we have green spaces in each of our towns.’’

The freeholders in 2017 approved funding for six preservation projects at a cost of nearly $2.4 million and totaling 147 acres in six Morris County towns. Included were projects in Denville, Hanover, Jefferson, Lincoln Park, Morristown, and Washington Township.

They ranged from one-acre purchases for flood storage and a pocket park in Lincoln Park and Hanover, to the purchase of an 11-acre undeveloped tract near downtown Morristown, 12 scenic acres in Washington Township, and a 118-acre forested tract in Jefferson.

About 13,900 acres of open space have been preserved with the assistance of grant funding from the county program since its inception in 1993, according to Murray.

The deadline for submitting 2018 open space applications and appraisals is Friday, June 15. The Morris County Open Space Trust Fund Committee will visit proposed sites in September, with final presentations made in October, and recommendations made to the freeholder board in early November.

You can obtain additional information by contacting the Morris County Division of Planning and Preservation at 973-829-8120.

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