Morris County 2017 Open Space Grant Applications Now Being Accepted

June 16 Deadline To Apply

Puzio Farm is located east of Knoll Road, south of the Knollwood School within a densely populated section of Parsippany. The property was acquired in 2016 with Open Space Funds

MORRIS COUNTY — The Morris County Department of Planning and Public Works, Division of Planning and Preservation, has announced that the 2017 grant application for funding of open space projects under the Morris County Preservation Trust are now available online by clicking here.

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.

Freeholder Christine Myers

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 flooding.

“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 2016 approved funding for six preservation projects at a cost of nearly $3.75 million and totaling more than 270 acres in five Morris County towns. Included were two projects in Denville, and one each in Parsippany, Kinnelon, Randolph, and the first-ever grant award to Mt. Arlington.

They ranged from six-acres in a heavily populated section of Parsippany — and one of the last remaining undeveloped large open spaces in town, to 179-acres of forested land in Kinnelon that is contiguous to a county greenway and a local park in neighboring Pequannock.

Puzio Farm, is located east of Knoll Road, south of the Knollwood School within a densely populated section of the township.  The property was a former tree farm and is one of the few remaining large open space tracts left in the township.  The level property is contiguous to preserved open space and located across the street from watershed lands surrounding the Jersey City Reservoir.  Preservation will create a greenway of close to 35 acres in the region and protect water quality. The grant amount approved in 2016 was $772,500.

More than 13,750 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 2017 open space applications and appraisals is Friday, June 16. 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.