The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders is pleased to announce the opening of Ponderosa Farm Park at 1600 Cooper Road in Scotch Plains.
“This wonderful new public resource is the result of a collaboration between the community and Union County,” said Freeholder Chairman Alexander Mirabella. “On behalf of the Freeholder Board, I would like to thank all of the residents who participated in the Ponderosa Citizens’ Committee for their insights and suggestions, which have played a key role in making this project a success.”
Prior to its purchase by Union County in September 2003, the 23 acre farmland property had been the estate of the late Norman “Dutch” Sevell who founded and owned Sevell’s Auto Body and Towing on South Avenue in Westfield.
At the time of its acquisition, the property tract was the largest farm remaining in Union County. It was purchased for $10 million with combined funding from the Union County Open Space, Recreation and Historic Preservation Trust Fund, and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s Green Acres Program.
The new park, designed by T&M Associates of Middletown, includes walking trails, two multipurpose athletic fields, and farm-themed playgrounds with spray fountains. The park also has restroom facilities, a picnic area and ample parking. It will be maintained by the city of Scotch Plains but will remain part of the Union County Park System.
“We are thrilled that through the Open Space Trust Fund we were able to save this unique property,” said Freeholder Deborah Scanlon, Chairman of the Open Space Trust Fund Committee. “With every acre we protect we are doing our part to control over-development and make a lasting improvement in the quality of life for all of Union County’s residents.”
The park development project, which totaled approximately $3.7 million, was executed through Turco Golf Inc. of Suffern, NY, with funding from the Open Space Trust Fund, the Green Acres Program, and a small shared services grant from Scotch Plains, Fanwood, and the Scotch Plains-Fanwood Board of Education.
Ponderosa Farm Park is now open to the public, and there will be a formal ribbon cutting ceremony hosted by the County of Union on Tuesday, June 19 at 4:30 p.m. to celebrate the completion of the project and thank the community partners that helped make the transformation possible.
For more information on Ponderosa Farm Park, contact the Union County Department of Parks and Community Renewal at 908-527-4027 or visit www.ucnj.org/parks.
The Open Space, Recreation and Historic Preservation Trust Fund has been instrumental in preserving over 300 acres of land throughout Union County since its inception in 2000. Its mission is to conserve open space, provide recreational opportunities, and preserve historic sites.