ROXBURY, NJ – Morris County should allocate $10,000 toward the creation of a paved pathway that would connect the West Morris Greenway, near Horseshoe Lake, with Ledgewood Park in Ledgewood, said an advisory panel this week.

The recommendation came from the county Open Space Trust Fund Committee. It was one of five open-space preservation projects in the county, totaling $1.93 million, recommended for funding by the panel.

The freeholders, scheduled to decide Nov. 19, usually go along with the recommendations.

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Preliminary plans for the proposed “Righter Road Greenway Trail” were presented almost a year ago to the Roxbury Mayor and Council by Roxbury Open Space Advisory Committee Chairman Andrew Tybus and Bob Canace, a paid advisor to the township.

The walking and bicycling path would follow Righter Road for much of its route of about 2.8 miles, passing close to Roxbury High School, Succasunna Field, Roxbury Mall, the proposed Shops at Ledgewood Commons, the Woods Edge development, Lakeside Village, Renaissance Village, the Drakesville Historic District and Morris Canal Park.

“(The) Open Space (Committee) ... looks at trying to create connections between schools, parks, recreation facilities and business,” Tybus said at that meeting. “And this seems to be the perfect example of how to do it.”

He said the pathway would be a “perfect backbone” linking two undeveloped “greenway” areas while passing near shopping centers, medical offices, restaurants, theaters, housing and schools. “It’s got everything,” Tybus said.

In its statement, the county noted “a trail through the property would permit safe pedestrian passage to Righter Road, a narrow, busy street with no sidewalks.”

No Commercial Viability

Tybus last year noted there is no safe way for pedestrians or bicyclists to travel along the route between Hillside Avenue and Mary Louise Ave. He told the council that some property acquisition might be necessary and that one of the landowners “is interested in selling it because it really doesn’t have commercial prospects.”

The $10,000 grant from the county would go toward the purchase of 4.7 acres at the southeast corner of the intersection of Commerce Boulevard and Righter Road. The tract - owned by Sylvia Rubens of Randolph - is described as “densely wooded” and consisting “largely of wetlands.”

Rubins has agreed to sell the land to the township and an ordinance authorizing the purchase of the property, for $22,500, is scheduled for a vote at the Nov. 13 council meeting.

Canace said the pathway through the wetlands would be accomplished with a bridge system.

“I’m high on the concept,” Roxbury Councilman Jim Rilee said at the time. “We’ve talked about it for years actually … I think part of it’s going to have to be going onto properties, like the malls.”

“It’s a great plan,” agreed Roxbury Councilman Fred Hall. “I ride my bike through there all the time and you kind of pause going around that turn on Mary Louise.”

“Funding for the recommended projects would come from the voter approved county preservation trust fund, generated by a special county tax,” noted the county in a statement. “That money also is used for farmland and historic preservation, county parkland acquisition, trail construction and the purchase of residential properties prone to flooding.”

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