ROXBURY, N.J. - Field work on a long-sought trail connecting two pieces of Roxbury parkland likely will begin next week if the Morris County freeholders this week approve a $36,616 grant to help pay for the project, said a consultant on Friday.
The freeholders are expected to approve the grant because doing so was recommended recently by a special county committee that reviews county funding for trail projects. The county money would go toward a 22-foot-long fiberglass bridge needed to carry the trail over Drake’s Brook and enable a connection between Roxbury’s Veteran’s Park Trail and the Emmans Greenway open space corridor.
The county grant was recommended several weeks ago by a county advisory committee as one of 13 trail projects in 13 towns across Morris County that should be funded as part of a new Morris County Trail Construction Grant. The grant program has $661,000 to spend on such projects, money that came from a portion of the Morris County Preservation Trust Fund approved by voters two years ago.
The township sought about $41,700 from the county to help pay for the $52,200 connector trail. According to township records, the bridge will cost about $14,000, site preparation will cost about $3,000, bridge shipping and delivery will cost about $1,600, the bridge foundation will cost about $6,000 and construction will cost about $6,200.
Additionally, permits, engineering and surveys are expected to cost about $32,700, building a trail head and parking lot will cost about $13,900 and blazing the trail will cost about $2,750. All that adds up to about $52,000 when a 10 percent contingency cost is included.
Although the county grant will be about $5,000 less than the amount sought by Roxbury, Robert Canace, a trail expert who is advising the township, said the project will proceed.
"The township wants to do it and it appreciates any help the county can give," he said. "The township is very anxious to make this connection between the Emmans Greenway and Veteran's Park."
Canace said plotting the trail can "start immediately" if the weather holds out. Engineering design for the bridge is likely to begin in January, he said.
Morris County Freeholder Christine Myers said money spent on trails in the county, such as the Roxbury project, “is a very wise investment in the improvement of our county’s recreational opportunities, which improves the quality of life for all residents, making Morris County a better place to live and work and locate a business.’’
The freeholders are expected to formally vote to approve the grants at their Dec. 14 meeting.