Eleven historic buildings in eight Union County municipalities will undergo restoration work this year, funded in part by $500,000 in grants approved by the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders through the Preserve Union County program.
Preserve Union County was created in 2003 as an initiative of Freeholder Chairman Deborah Scanlon. It provides dollar-for-dollar matching grants for projects that are developed by local preservation groups and governments. Projects for Union County properties are also eligible for funding.
“Preserve Union County is focused on supporting local groups in their efforts to preserve sites that are most treasured within their communities,” said Scanlon. “This program has worked so well because the projects are developed by people who are deeply committed and involved.”
Since 2003, Preserve Union County has awarded approximately $2.5 million in matching funds that have gone to help preserve and restore twenty-six historic sites throughout Union County.
Preserve Union County is funded through the Union County Open Space, Historic Preservation and Recreation Trust Fund. The Trust Fund was approved overwhelmingly by popular referendum in 2000. Since then it has preserved well over 300 acres of land for public parks, acquired and restored historic sites including the 1920-s era Performing Arts Center in Rahway, and provided matching grants to municipalities and nonprofits for dozens of local recreation improvements and historic preservation projects.
“I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to have a consistent funding stream for important civic projects, through good times and bad,” said Scanlon. “Even during this time of global economic crisis, Preserve Union County is still helping to save rare treasures from our past, while creating work in the building and preservation trades that otherwise would have to be delayed, or would not occur at all.”
The 2011 Preserve Union County awardees are:
First Presbyterian Church of Elizabeth: Restore slate roof and masonry at the tower (Elizabeth Old First Historic Trust), $100,000.00.
Carriage House: New windows and air conditioning (Borough of Fanwood), $15,000.00.
Oswald J. Nitschke House: Restore second floor, lighting, and air conditioning, and install period stove (Kenilworth Historic Society), $70,000.00.
Deacon Hetfield House: Upgrade electrical system and replace hot water heater (Mountainside Restoration Committee), $5,396.00.
Lampkin House and Barn: Acquire the property located at 850 Terrill Road, perform high priority repairs, and develop a preservation plan (City of Plainfield), $70,000.00.
George A. Strong Residence: Repair active roof leaks, restore masonry at chimney, restore deteriorated elements of port cochere (Ducret School of Arts), $35,000.00.
Nathaniel Drake House: Restore or repair slate roof, gutters, porch, and chimney, and build new accessible restroom. Project includes scaffolding. (Historical Society of Plainfield), $30,000.00.
Merchants and Drovers Tavern: Restore or repair gutters, siding, eaves, masonry fireplace and foundation, doors, fire escapes, and other building elements, and paint existing trim, doors and windows. Project includes scaffolding (Merchants and Drovers Tavern Museum Association), $65,000.00.
Reeves-Reed Arboretum and The Clearing: Repair and repaint wood, replace storm windows, and install new walkway for safer access to main house (Reeves-Reed Arboretum), $43,000.00.
Liberty Hall Museum Carriage House: Complete replacement of the slate roof (Liberty Hall Museum, Inc.), $60,000.00.
Caldwell Parsonage: Install a ductless air conditioning system, main panel and power shut off (Union Township Historical Society), $6,112.50.