BERNARDSVILLE, NJ -- The borough has proposed two ordinances that would appropriate a total of $2.18 million from its Open Space Trust Fund to purchase two properties that it intends to use for recreation and open space purposes.
Bernardsville recently purchased a 5-acre property at 251 Claremont Road from Walter and Susan Makoc that sits adjacent to the Peter’s Tract parcel, a previously inaccessible natural preserve. One of the ordinances proposes taking $630,000 from the borough Open Space Trust Fund to purchase 261 Claremont Road, which borders both Peter’s Tract and the recently purchased 251 Claremont Road property.
The borough obtained two appraisals of the property and is in the process of negotiating a contract to purchase this property for $575,000. Of the $630,000 appropriated from the Borough Open Space Trust Fund, $575,000 would cover the purchase price, and the rest would go to other costs incurred in purchasing the property.
Although the borough acquired Peter’s Tract many years ago, the plot has remained inaccessible to the public due to the layout of the surrounding area. The newly purchased lot should eventually facilitate access and provide additional space for parking and recreation.
“It is such a pleasure to have a project we have been working on for so long come to fruition. Everyone on the Open Space Committee is happy the residents of Bernardsville will be able to enjoy this property,” said Pat McFadden, who chairs the Open Space Committee.
According to the Land Conservancy of New Jersey, which assisted the borough in acquiring 251 Claremont Road, the current site, valued at nearly $1 million, contains outbuildings and a pool, both of which will be removed so that space for public access can be created. The borough has not yet determined whether to tear down the California-style ranch house itself, or to keep it for support of new outdoor recreation activities.
“I want to thank the Borough’s Open Space Committee and The Land Conservancy of New Jersey for their hard work and patience,” said Bernardsville Mayor Mary Jane Canose. “Finding a way for the community to access and enjoy Peter’s Tract has been a goal for many years, and both the council and myself are excited to see it become a reality.”
In a separate ordinance, the Borough Open Space Advisory Committee has recommended the purchase of the 271 Mine Brook Road property for open space and recreation purposes. The seller has accepted the borough’s bid of $1.5 million for the property.
The borough has not yet determined a specific purpose for these properties yet.
There will be a public hearing on both proposed ordinances at the Monday, Sept. 9 Borough Council meeting.