BORDENTOWN CITY, NJ—The Bordentown City Commissioners unanimously approved a sales agreement to purchase the Divine Word Missionaries property on Park Street on Monday night, in partnership with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s Green Acres Program and the Delaware and Raritan Greenway Land Trust.
The property is being sold for $4.6 million dollars, with the City paying $1,655,000 for its portion of the land.
The City will be acquiring 5.44 acres of the property, including the existing main seminary, dormitory and gym buildings. The City will be repurposing those structures and moving the Municipal Building and Police Department to the buildings.
Mayor Jim Lynch said that the deal was “no easy lift,” as the sale of the property attracted intense interest from other parties, such as those wanting to build warehouses and over 1,000 high-density apartments on the property.
Calling the acquisition of the property a “great benefit to the City and its residents,” Mayor Lynch expressed his gratitude to Divine Word and Father Pool, who is overseeing the transition.
“Our relationship with Divine Word was more than just money, it was a partnership,” he said. “It would have been so easy to sell this property to the warehouse developer, and they chose to work with the state of New Jersey and the City of Bordentown and D & R Greenway.”
Daniel Kennedy, Chair of the City Planning and Zoning Board, said that had this sale had not taken place, the open space would have been converted into something else that would not be nearly as favorable to the City. Noting that the space will now be part of a large lot of continuously preserved land and trail region, he hopes that the property will become a draw for visitors to the City, and that the open space will lend itself to events and programming for not just the City, but also state and county activities.
Calling the Divine Word Missionaries land a “special, special piece of property,” Deputy Mayor John Brodowski noted the historical significance of the property, which has counted Joseph Bonaparte as a resident and has been the site of archaeological digs. He said that by preserving it, the City and entire region will be able to enjoy it in perpetuity.
Former Mayor Joe Malone called the sale “spectacular” and said that Monday night was “one of the most significant nights in the City’s history.”
“Towns this small just don’t usually get into this big time stuff… this is a prize second to none,” Malone said.
Mayor Lynch was thanked by members of the public, the D&R Greenway and the Commissioners for the role he played in securing the property, which will benefit current and future residents of the City.
“Thank you to the Mayor,” Commissioner Joe Myers said. “I truly appreciate your leadership during this process.”