MADISON, NJ—New bleachers at the Madison Recreation Complex (MRC). Money for the Museum of Early Trades and Crafts. Financial support for the Madison Community Garden’s pollinator meadow. These projects all received funding from Madison’s Open Space, Recreation and Historic Preservation Trust Fund.
Madison has nearly $275,000 left in this year’s fund as of May 31. The borough council, which controls the fund, has a few potential projects in the works, according to Councilman Ben Wolkowitz, who explained the details at Monday's council meeting.
First on the list is the Hartley-Dodge Memorial Building, Wolkowitz said. The council applied for a grant that would partially fund renovations to the building, which houses Madison’s town hall.
If these monies are approved, Wolkowitz said, Madison will pay approximately $140,000 for the project from the Open Space Trust Fund; about half of this year’s remaining money.
Summerhill Park on Ridgedale Avenue may also receive a facelift courtesy of the Open Space Trust Fund and a pending grant. If the grant money is approved, park goers can stroll through Summerhill on newly constructed trails.
An arboretum may also be part of the park’s upgrade, according to Wolkowitz.
Both the trails and arboretum would cost $30,000-$50,000, “a guess,” Wolkowitz said, “but there are other things we will need to make that area as practical as we’d like.”
He suggested “parking spaces and probably a trailhead kiosk so people know where they are and can identify where they can go” when navigating the park’s new trails.
Rentals and user fees collected from athletic fields and paid to the Open Space Trust Fund totaled nearly $16,000 as of May 31. The council said it expects to secure at least another $60,000-$70,000 by year’s end, which can be used for additional projects or debt payments.
Construction began this week on the bleachers at MRC, a more than $300,000 project heavily funded by the Open Space Trust Fund. The bleachers there will be replaced this summer to comply with new regulations.
Councilwoman Maureen Byrne brought up the impending $1 million expense for resurfacing several of Madison’s playing fields, and suggested that Open Space Trust Fund money should be put aside for such a costly project.
Many in the council agreed, including Councilman Bob Landrigan, who said the $1-million project will come with interest-heavy debt payments that may get too high to be financed by the Open Space Trust Fund.
“My biggest concern is the taxpayer in this town,” he said.