In a joint prepared statement, Madison Borough Council members and candidates for re-election in 2014, Carmela Vitale and Bob Landrigan, express support for Madison’s Open Space, Recreation and Historic Preservation Trust Fund.
“People often forget that the tax doesn’t just go to purchase additional open space for parkland in Madison; although, that is certainly one very important use for the money,” said Vitale. “Take our new Madison Recreation Complex (MRC) located off of Ridgedale Avenue next to the high school. About a third of the cost of the new turf fields in the MRC is being paid for with Open Space Taxes.”
“In addition, a one-time grant of $47,000 from the Open Space Trust was used as seed money to establish the community garden also located in the MRC,” added Landrigan. “The garden, which encourages organic gardening methods, is now essentially self-sustaining through annual user fees.”
According to Community Garden Advisory Committee member and early advocate for the Community Garden, Charlie Courtney, “The Community Garden is in its third year, and the number of 20 x 10 foot garden plots has grown from an initial 60 to the current 80. In addition, a strip along the garden has been dedicated to the Shade Tree Authority for raising trees from seedlings. The first of these will be planted across the borough this year. Garden plot applications are available online at www.rosenet.org.”
“On June 7 we celebrated the opening of the internal trail system at the MRC,” said Landrigan, who chairs the MRC Master Plan Advisory Committee. "The trails represent the first phase of the committee's plan for supporting passive recreation at the complex. Looking forward we also hope to create a safe sledding snow hill for our children.”
“Of course none of this would have been possible if we didn’t have Open Space money to help pay for the purchase of the 49 acres on which the MRC is located,” observed Vitale. “Of the total $13 million for the cost of the land, $8.9 million has come from state and county grants. Our Open Space dollars leveraged those grants. A reasonable Open Space Tax is the smart, cost-effective way to build community and enhance quality of life.”
In line with this thinking , both Vitale and Landrigan voted to reduce the Municipal Open Space Tax to a modest 1.8 cents per $100 of assessed value in 2013, as they believed that “this recognized the need to fund open space projects while reducing the impact on Madison taxpayers,” stated Landrigan.