At the Monday, March 20, 2017, Cedar Grove Township Council Staff Meeting. Councilman Joseph Cicala proposed drafting a resolution to be sent the Governor’s office, which would set forth the intent of the governing body to protect and preserve the 40+ acres of open space that is adjacent to Ridge Road, across from the Newark Reservoir. The Resolution, which was approved by the unanimous consent of the Council, will be drafted and voted on at the April 3, 2017 Council Meeting.

In addition, Councilman Cicala proposed the following additional initiatives regarding that same tract of land: First, the Councilman asked that a follow-up letter be sent to the City of Newark to follow-up on a similar letter that was sent by the Township in the Fall, asking for a dialogue to be opened up between the municipalities regarding the sale of the property to Cedar Grove. Second, in an effort to assist with the funding of said purchase, Councilman Cicala sought approval to request a meeting with the Green Acres Trust Fund, in order to ascertain whether there would be any “Green Acres” funds available to use toward the purchase of the property and/or of the development rights to same. Finally, the Councilman asked that the governing body reach out to the Open Space Committee to ascertain the availability of “Rails to Trails” grants which may become available to upgrade the trails that run throughout the property. The Council also unanimously approved these three initiatives and the governing body will soon move forward on each one.

“I was extremely pleased to see that my fellow council members supported the initiatives that I proposed at the March 20, 2017 staff meeting regarding the property across from the Newark Reservoir”, said Councilman Cicala. “Not only is that the last large parcel of undeveloped open space remaining in our community, but there has been a lot of misinformation being spread throughout the Township regarding the Council’s willingness to permit that space to be developed. Now, it is clear from the Resolution about to be passed, that the Township Council intends only to protect and preserve that property as open space and to never develop that parcel of land.”

Councilman Cicala has been a proponent of protecting open space in Cedar Grove and has, in the past, proposed the purchase of the property from the City of Newark by using a portion of PILOT monies that will be raised by the new Hilltop development, so that there will be little or no cost to the taxpayer.