ROXBURY, NJ - The money keeps coming to the Lake Hopatcong Foundation, and the non-profit group celebrated its good fortune Sunday with a “wonderful” barbeque and fundraising event.
More than 130 people showed up for the party at the former Lackawanna Railroad station, the building purchased by the foundation that will soon become its headquarters.
At the event, the organization conducted a ceremonial acceptance of two checks, one from the county and one from a group that’s been involved in helping Lake Hopatcong since the time the train station was built.
“It was a wonderful event that really reflected the community’s enthusiasm around this building and around the mission of our organization,” Lake Hopatcong Foundation President Jessica Murphy said in a statement. “The fact that we could not only bring together supporters, but also accept two generous grants as part of the festivities made it an extra special day in the life of the Lake Hopatcong Foundation.”
During the event, three members of the Lake Hopatcong Protective Association (LHPA) made a ceremonial presentation of more than $18,000 to the foundation. The organization, which has been active in the Lake Hopatcong area since the early 1900s, donated the money “as part of an effort to join forces for the betterment of Lake Hopatcong,” said Murphy.
“The LHPA grant reflected the amount that remained in its accounts after years of fighting for the protection of the lake’s waters,” she said. “The foundation agreed with the LHPA to earmark the money for the foundation’s water quality and water safety initiatives.”
Additionally, the special day included the ceremonial presentation to the foundation of a $192,500 grant from the Morris County Historic Preservation Trust Fund. The money will help the foundation pay off the mortgage on the historic train station, purchased last November.
“The amount of the grant is equal to half the cost of the value of the land and property, as determined by an appraisal, and was approved by the Morris County Board of Chosen Freeholders,” noted Murphy. Morris County Freeholder David Scapicchio presented the ceremonial check.
“Efforts like these help preserve the history of our county for future generations … helping them understand the past and, hopefully, using that knowledge to make our county a better place in the future,” Scapicchio said.
The barbecue featured a cookout, a “retro Good Humor truck,” 1950s music and tours of the train station building, said Murphy. She said all money raised during the barbeque would go toward the station rehabilitation project.
“This is a great opportunity for the community to learn about the station and our plans for its renovation,” said local historian Marty Kane, who is chairman of the LHF board of trustees. “Visitors were given a small glimpse of what the future holds in store for this iconic building."
The train station, bordering Landing Road and the New Jersey Transit tracks, was built in 1911. The foundation has hired historical architectural firm Connolly and Hickey to create a preservation plan. Its goal is to make the building open to the public as the foundation’s office and also as an “event space” and a central resource for lake information.
“We are so thankful not only to have the support of so many in the community, as reflected by those who attended our fundraising event, but also to be able to partner with the Lake Hopatcong Protective Association for the betterment of the lake, and with Morris County for the rehabilitation of the train station building,” Murphy said. “And now we just hope to keep moving forward, celebrating and improving the lake for this wonderful community and region.”
The foundation has posted information online for people interested in learning about how to support the train station rehabilitation, including how to sponsor a tile or purchase a hand-painted Lake Hopatcong Train Station miniature.