July 18, 2014 at 1:05 AM
CHATHAM, NJ - The Chatham Township Committee received enthusiastic support from the public on Thursday night before it unanimously approved its application to acquire 165 acres of Open Space from the Normandy Group.
Normandy purchased 205 acres of the Giralda Farms property, formerly known as the Dodge Estate. Normandy is selling 165 acres to Chatham Township, where the land is located. The sale is being facilitated by Terrence Nolan, senior vice-president of conservation transactions for the Open Space Institute.
Terrence Nolan of the Open Space Institute speaks about the significance of the purchase in video below
The deal to purchase the 165 acres from Normandy for $14 million was facilitated by Nolan, who noted that 98 percent of the funding for the purchase would come from outside sources.
According to Nolan, $10 million will be sought from the Morris County Open Space Preservation Trust, $1 million from the state's Green Acres program, $1 million from the Morris County Municipal Alliance and $450,000 from the Open Space Institute. Chatham Township would put up $350,000.
If all goes smoothly, the Morris County Freeholders could approve the transaction the first week of November and the deal could be completed by the end of the year.
Sally Rubin, executive director of the Great Swamp Watershed Association, congratulated the committee on the move and read a letter she sent to the Morris County Planning Department for the open space trust in support of the acquisition.
"If we can share this land for future generations, it will truly be a blessing," Susan Hoag, a member of Chatham Township's Open Space Committee, said.
Thomas Ciccarone, township administrator, noted that while Chatham Township will "ultimately hold the title to the property," the Morris County Park Commission will be in charge of maintenance.
Mayor Kevin Sullivan said the purchase would benefit the entire region with expansion of access to Loantaka Brook Reservation. He also named Madison, Harding and Morris Township among the municipalities supporting the acquisition.