New Trails May Be in the Future for Madison's Summerhill Park

Summerhill Park on 185 Ridgedale Ave. may receive a facelift thanks to a grant recommendation submitted Monday to the Morris County Freeholders. Credits: Google Maps
Summerhill Park was once home to the Villa Lorraine estate. Credits: Lorraine Harper

MADISON, NJ – Changes may be coming to Summerhill Park on Ridgedale Avenue per a funding recommendation submitted Monday to the Morris County Board of Chosen Freeholders. 

Madison would receive more than $40,000 to construct new trails inside the park, where the Villa Lorraine estate once stood. Trail grants would also be awarded for projects in Morris, Hanover, Jefferson and Washington townships, as well as Wharton, totaling nearly $600,000.

The initial round of grants, approved in late 2016 as part of the Morris County Trail Construction Grant Program, funded 13 trail projects for about $661,000. 

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“This second round of projects continued to show a diversity in trail projects supporting each town’s interest of connecting their communities to both local and regional trail networks.’’ said Morris County Park Commission Executive Director Dave Helmer. “As a result, residents of Morris County will have an additional 4.1-miles of trails to walk, run, hike, bike and horseback ride on in the next few years as these projects are completed.”

A freeholders vote to approve the recommendation will be held at its Dec. 13 meeting.

If approved, money will be pulled from the county’s Preservation Trust Fund to finance each project. Voters in 2014 approved a ballot question to use a portion of this fund for trail countywide development. 

This trail construction program awards annual grants to qualified applicants from Morris County’s 39 municipalities to build new trails on municipal open space, thereby enhancing recreational opportunities for all Morris County residents. 

“This is an excellent investment in the county’s recreational infrastructure that will improve the quality of life for all residents, making Morris County a better place to live and work and locate a business,’’ said Freeholder Christine Myers, the board’s planning and preservation liaison. “It also enhances tourism options, providing even more recreational opportunities for visitors to our county.’’

Only construction-ready projects are eligible for funding. Madison must provide plans and designs for new trails and contribute a 20 percent financial or in-kind match for the Summerhill project to receive the grant. 

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