NORTH PLAINFIELD – The Borough of North Plainfield and the Somerset County Board of Chosen Freeholders are joining forces to purchase the former Villa Maria property as open space in order to keep the site from being developed, they announced on Thursday.
The borough is in the process of purchasing the approximately 15-acre Somerset Street property from Watchung Hills at North Plainfield, LLC, known as the former Villa Maria Home for the Aged.
Somerset County will contribute $3 million toward the purchase. North Plainfield will apply to the Somerset County Improvement Authority for the funds necessary to purchase and rehabilitate the property for use as open space.
“On behalf of myself, the Borough Council and my administration, we very much appreciate the assistance of the county Freeholders in this contribution of $3 million towards our hopeful acquisition of the last major developable parcel in the borough, which would allow for additional open space in the borough and a very significant reduction in the borough’s potential affordable housing obligation,” said Mayor Michael Giordano Jr. “It further shows a continuing pattern of cooperation between the borough and the county to benefit the residents of North Plainfield.”
“Participating in this purchase will advance the county’s goal of providing open space and recreation opportunities to county residents,” said Freeholder Director Patrick Scaglione. “This is a perfect example of a county-municipal partnership that will benefit all our citizens.”
Title to the property will be held by the Borough of North Plainfield; Somerset County will be responsible for monitoring the property to ensure its use will be consistent with the county’s Open Space Master Plan.