Union County on track to acquire new land for Passaic River Parkway – Union County, New Jersey
The planned acquisition of a vacant property will improve public recreation and nature conservation along the Passaic River in Berkeley Heights.
Union County, NJ – The Union County Board of Commissioners is moving forward with plans to improve public recreation and nature conservation along a section of the Passaic River Parkway in Berkeley Heights, through the acquisition of a vacant property at 735-737 Springfield Avenue in Berkeley Heights.
The property is approximately 1-1 / 2 acres in size and is adjacent to the Passaic River on one side. Two other sides are bordered by the Passaic River Parkway, a preserved county-owned open space that includes sections in New Providence and Summit as well as Berkeley Heights.
“The acquisition of this vacant property is a key step in our efforts to complete the vision for a series of interconnected greenways that connect our public parks across Union County, providing new recreational opportunities and improving hallways. for nature conservation, “said the Council of Commissioners. President Alexandre Mirabella. “This is a big step forward for our public parks and our residents.
“Opportunities to expand and improve open spaces in Union County are extremely rare, and this property is particularly important in terms of environmental sensitivity and availability of land for free and open use by the public. We are very proud to continue the long tradition of Union County of acting with public support for land conservation throughout Union County, ”said Commissioner Kimberly Palmieri-Mouded, who chairs the Council of administration of open spaces, recreation and historical preservation.
Berkeley Heights Township Mayor Angie Devanney said, “Today is a big day for Berkeley Heights. We started this journey in early 2019 when I approached the County Commissioners Open Space Committee about acquiring vacant land as green space after the closure of Berkeley Caterers. Open space has always been and continues to be a priority for my administration.
“My sincere gratitude to President Al Mirabella for making the trip to Berkeley Heights in May to discuss the vision for the region which may include walking trails and other passive recreation for our residents. I want to thank all of the county commissioners for investing in the future of Berkeley Heights, ”said Mayor Devanney.
Plans to acquire the property were first launched in 2018, when Mayor Devanney and Union County Director Edward Oatman toured the property and discussed its future use as a county park. with the owner.
The first parts of the Union County park system were assembled in the 1920s by environmentalists, who were concerned about the rapid development and pollution along the region’s rivers. They enlisted the help of the Olmsted brothers, sons of renowned landscape architect Frederick Olmsted, to design an interconnected system of waterfront parks and open spaces.
The early parts of the park system encompassed a total of 2,000 acres. With public support, the system grew to over 4,000 acres by 1930. The park system now encompasses over 6,760 acres housing a range of sports and passive recreational uses as well as nature conservation and preservation. historical.
The Union County Open Space, Recreation and Historic Preservation Trust Fund was overwhelmingly approved in a public referendum in 2000, with the initial goal of adding 100 acres of land to the park system of the Union. county – an ambitious goal given the pace of development of Union County through the 20e century.
The Trust Fund has exceeded its target with the addition of more than 300 acres since 2000, including formerly developed sites that have been rehabilitated for parks.
The acquisition of the Springfield Avenue property will be covered by the Trust Fund at an expected cost of $ 2,560,000.00. As a condition of the sale, the current owner demolishes the vacant building on the property.
For more information on the Union County park system, visit ucnj.org/parks-recreation.
For information and updates on all Union County services during the COVID-19 outbreak, including free vaccination, free testing, emergency food distribution, and other health services. support, visit ucnj.org/covid19. General information on COVID-19 is available from the New Jersey Department of Health at nj.gov/health.
For all Union County programs and services, visit ucnj.org, call the public information line, 877-424-1234, email [email protected], or use the online contact form.
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