Open Space Preservation
Office of Open Space
Chief Operating Officer - Special
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S.P.A.C.E.S., the Quarterly Newsletter of the Open
Maintaining a balance between open space and development has
long been a priority in Middlesex County. The MCIA conducts legal and technical due
diligence for the Middlesex County Open Space Trust Fund and negotiates the purchase of
key parcels of land.
The Trust Fund is supported by a special tax levy of
per one hundred dollars of assessed valuation, approved by Middlesex County voters in
1995 and 2001. The levy pays the debt service on revenue bonds issued by the MCIA, which finance
the acquisition of various parcels of land to ensure that many of the countys
undeveloped areas remain untouched forever.
Since the program began, more than 7,500 acres
(acquisitions and properties under contract) have been
saved from development. Some acquisitions include:
- The Manalapan Brook runs along the eastern side of 36.2-acre Davidson Property in Monroe Township. The property contains significant natural wetlands. It also borders two previously-preserved open space lands thereby creating a greenway corridor.
- The Camel Creek property in Woodbridge Township is environmentally important to the Township and its preservation as open space also preserves a significant wildlife habitat. Its 4.64 acres had been approved for 30 residential units.
- North Brunswick Township, the State of New Jersey Green Acres and Middlesex County completed a joint venture to preserve Pulda Farm, the last working farm in the Township. The property had been farmed for more then 300 years, and it comprises 70 acres.
- Cottrell Farm and Whitney Estates in Old Bridge total 58 acres, and Middlesex County has entered into a Conservation Restriction Agreement with the Township of Old Bridge for this acquisition of open space.
- Pulda Farm in South Brunswick is almost 200 acres, and the
land was slated for a 52-lot subdivision. The County and the Township have
partnered to complete the acquisition, and it is expected that New Jersey's
Green Acres Program will contribute to the purchase as well.
- 100 acre Adventure Realty parcel in Monroe Township was zoned for residential use.
- 18.97 acres in Monroe Township directly across from Thompson Park.
- An environmentally significant purchase of 69 acres in Dismal Swamp was a partnership of Middlesex County, the Borough of South Plainfield, the NY/NJ Baykeeper and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
- 3/5 acres in South Brunswick adjacent to Heathcote Brook Park.
- 54 acres on Fresh Ponds Road in South Brunswick.
- 3/4 acres on Harrell Avenue in Woodbridge Township.
- 18.9 acres in Monroe Township adjacent to other open space and across from the County's Thompson Park. This land potentially would yield 10 residential lots.
- 69 acres of forested land located in the Dismal Swamp area of South Plainfield. The Port Authority of NY/NJ, through the State's Green Acres Program, made a substantial contribution to the purchase price.
- Twelve single family homes will not be built on
4.6 acres at Brunswick Avenue and Old Stage Road in Spotswood that are preserved as open space. The borough holds title to the property with the County receiving a conservation restriction.
- 29.5 acres in Sayreville was added to an existing 100-plus acres of open space with the borough of Sayreville holding title to the land and the County receiving a conservation restriction.
- 15.087 acres known as Varga Park Extension was acquired in South River with the Borough holding title to the land and the County entering into a Grant & Conservation Restriction Agreement with the Borough.
- An important link in Monroe Township's open space trail program was acquired with 100 acres added to the County's open space inventory. The acreage is located across from a large farmland preservation area and near Daniel Ryan Memorial Park. The purchase prevents the building of 65 potential new homes and it protects an aquifer recharge area.
- 3.45 acres of rolling grassy fields was added to Heathcote Brook Park in South Brunswick.
- 7 acres of vacant land on Oak Tree Avenue in South Plainfield was acquired with the County retaining a Grand & Conservation Restriction and the Borough holding title.
- 73.3 acres with 2,400 feet of frontage on Dey Road in Cranbury was acquired in late 2007.
- 232 acres of open space in East Brunswick township known as Tamarack Hollow was acquired in August 2007. The land had been approved for 57 homes and a sewage treatment facility.
- 127 acres of open space in the heart of South
Brunswick township, known as the Boyko property were acquired in 2005.
- The open space fund has committed $7 million
to purchase 90 acres in South Brunswick's most populated areas for open space
reservation known as the Stanton property, the site will act as a buffer
between Kendall Park and Route 1.
- In 2005, the County and the Borough of
Metuchen purchased a 2.68-acre parcel of land that will serve as a trailhead
to the Middlesex County Greenway.
- 530 acres of open space known as the Plainsboro Preserve, 129
acres of which will be farmed for up to 30 years and then transitioned to open space. The
property includes two streams, a portion of McCormack Lake, wetlands and woodlands.
- South River Waterfront - 37.36 acres of vacant
land along the South River. This purchase expands Grekoski Park which
borders the land. This property is one of the last remaining parcels of open
space left in the Borough of South River.
- Thompson Park Extension in Monroe Township, also
known as Bank of China Properties, nearly 825 acres. Adjacent to
Thompson Park and Perrineville Road. This land had potential for
residential/commercial development. Funding is a partnership with the
Township of Monroe, State of New Jersey and Middlesex County. The
State has interest in preserving more than 200 acres that are linked to
Revolutionary War history.
- On June 13, 2002, the County acquired, by
condemnation, the Red’s Marina property in the Borough of Highland Park. This
waterfront property consists of 3.45 acres. The MCIA negotiated with the
owners for six months to purchase this property. However, these attempts
proved unsuccessful. The Freeholder Board determined a condemnation action
was appropriate because of the important link that this parcel provides from
Highland Park to the Raritan River.
- On August 22, 2002, the County closed on
nearly one acre located adjacent to the Tamarack County Golf Course. This
property, known as the Church Lane Property in East Brunswick will provide a
buffer between Church Lane and a green on the course.
- A closing took place on
August 20, 2002 on the Schoolhouse Road property in the Township of Monroe. This 17-acre parcel is part of the Thompson Park Extension II Project and is
located adjacent to the County-owned Bank of China open space property
closing took Place on March 29, 2002 on the 54 Davidson Mill Road Property,
consisting of 5.528 acres. This purchase extends the Davidson’s Mill Pond
Park located in the Township of South Brunswick.
2001, The first Open Space Trust Fund signs marking properties purchased and
preserved forever were unveiled. The carved wood signs will continue to be
placed throughout the county on land purchased and protected by the Middlesex
County Open Space Trust Fund.
parcels totaling more than 16 acres in the Jamesburg Park Extension Project
located in Monroe Township. (these parcels are links in a string of properties
that make up the Jamesburg Park Extension.) One of the parcels consisting of
14 acres was a donation by the Pergola family to the County of Middlesex.
- Nearly 190 acres was purchased in South Brunswick Township, of which 80 acres
was a co-purchase between the County and the municipality. This project is
known as the Broadway/Friendship Road Conservation Area.
9 acres in South Plainfield, known as the Clinton Avenue Park
Project, was one of the last remaining open space parcels in South Plainfield.
parcels totaling more than 80 acres was purchased in South Brunswick Township.
(these parcels are links in a string of properties that make up the Davidson
Mill Park Extension Project.) One of the parcels consisting of more than 12
acres includes a lease agreement for up to 7 years on a small portion of the
land. The balance of the acres were purchased with a combination of County
Open Space Trust Funds and Green Acres participation.
- Lapinski Farm, 39 acres, in East Brunswick Township was a co-purchase between
the County of Middlesex, East Brunswick Township, and the State of NJ. The
Lapinski Farm is adjacent to the 27-acre Kelemen Farm property, which was
previously purchased by East Brunswick Township.
than 87 acres in the Thompson Park Extension II Project, known as the Witherb
Property, was purchased with County Open Space funds and Green Acres funds.
- Nearly 14 acres located in the Borough of Milltown, along Washington Avenue, known as the Washington Avenue Project, were acquired by eminent domain in
December of 2001.
- In December of 2002, the
County closed on the Middlesex Greenway Project. The Greenway Project is an
abandoned railroad right-of-way running through the Borough of Metuchen and
the Townships of Woodbridge and Edison, extending a distance of 3.5 miles. Consolidated Rail Corporation donated the property to the County for $1.00
with the condition that the County would pay $50,000 to Conrail for their
administration costs (i.e., legal, and appraisal).
- In December of 2002, the
County acquired an additional 75.83 acres in Monroe Township by condemnation. The property known as Hawthorne Acres is part of the Thompson Park Extension
- On January 6, 2003, the
County acquired nearly 97 acres in Woodbridge Township, known as the Pin Oak
Forest Project. This property is located along Omar Avenue and Rahway
Avenue. This project was one of the original sixteen projects approved by the
Middlesex County Open Space Committee and the Freeholders. This acquisition
represents the County’s first open space purchase in Woodbridge Township.
- On January 9, 2003, the
County purchased nearly 48 acres in the Township of Monroe, which are part of
the Thompson Park Extension II Project. This parcel is known as the
|A Quarterly Newsletter of the Open Space