Earth Day: Morris County offers Recreation Trail Grants — Open to all 39 Towns

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Recreational trail construction grants totaling some $1.2 million will be available to Morris County’s 39 municipalities this year through the 2020 Morris County Trail Construction Grant Program.

County government now is beginning its fifth annual application process for the grants, which are awarded for qualified projects to enhance recreational opportunities for county residents.

Application materials and other resources are available on the county’s Planning and Preservation website. Included is a Program Fact Sheet and a Program Overview presentation that provides thorough details of the program.

“Trails that are built across Morris County, and which are financed with the help of these county grants, makes our vast open spaces accessible to all residents, improving our quality of life,’’ said Freeholder Director Deborah Smith. “We invite all towns that are looking to create trails, to connect their parks and greenways, to apply for the grants.”

Grant awards for 2020 are expected to be announced near the end of the year.

Program rules, procedures and application process remain the same as in 2019. There is a two-step submission process:

Step 1: Letters of Intent are is due on Tuesday, June 30.

Step 2: Full Application is due by Friday, July 31.

Deadline extensions would be considered on a case-by-case basis. Municipalities should contact the Program Coordinator directly to request a deadline extension.

Funding for the program comes from a portion of the voter-approved Morris County Preservation Trust Fund, which will generate just over $8 million this year.

The program operates on a reimbursement basis. Municipal applicants are limited to one request per funding cycle. The program requires municipalities to provide the design of trail projects and to contribute a 20 percent match for the trail construction projects.

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)

Various aspects of project development are not eligible for funding, including but not limited to: land condemnation, land acquisition, sidewalks, road improvements or construction, lighting, running tracks, law enforcement and activities, promotional materials (shirts, caps, pins, etc…)

Funding only will be considered for property:

  • Located in Morris County
  • Owned by a municipality
  • Permanently preserved public parkland or private land with dedicated easements for public recreation use
  • With a permanent easement for public trail/recreational provided to a municipality
  • Fully under municipal control and/or with easements

The minimum grant is $5,000. The maximum grant award 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.

Roxbury Recommended for $28,000 Grant for connecting two Trail Systems

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