Government

Council Ponders Open Space Acquisition in New Providence

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NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – The Borough Council discussed the potential purchase of a property utilizing the state Green Acres funds at its Monday, August 14 meeting.

Borough Administrator Doug Marvin told the council that the new owner of a small vacant lot at the corner of South Street and First Street had approached the borough and inquired if the borough would like to purchase said lot which is adjacent to Veterans Park. Marvin explained that the borough has Green Acres funds available. The usage of those funds requires that the borough obtain two appraisals in order to establish the potential purchase price which would be the average of the two appraisals.

The borough has approximately $438,000 in open space funds, and an additional $182,000 available to use from the state’s Green Acres funds.

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Mayor Al Morgan noted that the lot is near the wagon wheel. “This is a piece of land that should be purchased.” Any land that is located next to an existing recreational facility is “a primary target” for land acquisition, Morgan said. “It is a perfect spot – I think we should go ahead and purchase it,” he added.

Council President Gary Kapner noted that the borough would have to spend additional funds for demolishing the old house on the lot. He agreed with Morgan that the borough should at least acquire the corner parcel if not the entire parcel on the site.

Councilman Robert Munoz said that he is “always hesitant” to take properties off the tax roll.  Munoz noted that the borough doesn’t need the entire lot, just the corner parcel would suffice. Councilman Robert Robinson agreed. “That’s an excellent idea!“ It is a huge benefit to the borough when you can connect a property to existing recreational area, he said.

Robinson asked Marvin if the borough has any other potential open space opportunities to use the Green Acres funds. Marvin responded that the borough has other projects where the open space funds could be used, mostly rehabilitation of existing recreational areas. However, this is the only land acquisition opportunity at the moment.

Marvin noted that the borough does not own the Ping Wang property, but if it ever considers acquiring that property some open space funds could be used there. Another potential project is the fitness trail around the pool and tennis courts. Open space funds could also be used in other parts of the Veterans Park, Marvin said.

The council members agreed that acquiring just the corner parcel would benefit the borough’s passive recreational needs. Morgan asked Marvin if the owner of the property is willing to subdivide the lot and just sell the corner parcel.

Marvin explained that he will reach out to the owner and report back at the next council meeting.

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