More than $20 million for municipal projects to date

FREEHOLD, NJ – The Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders has approved grants totaling $2.6 million from the 2011 Monmouth County Open Space Trust Fund to create or improve park facilities in 13 municipalities. 
“With this round of municipal open space grants we have now funded $20,234,000 of park and open space projects in our communities,” Freeholder Director Robert D. Clifton said. “Sharing the cost of municipal projects supports and improves the quality of life in all of our communities.”  

“The municipal open space grant program furthers the county’s ongoing commitment to land preservation for parks, recreation, open space and farmland,” said Lillian G. Burry, liaison to the county’s Park System that administers the grants. “This year 13 towns submitted complete applications and all were awarded funding.”

This is the ninth year of the program. All of the county’s 53 municipalities were eligible to apply for the land acquisition and park facility awards. 

One $250,000 grant for an open space acquisition project was awarded to Millstone to support the purchase of a 7.5-acre property that includes the Historic Thomas Baird Homestead. The project and the preservation of the 18th century house as a cultural center has tremendous community support. 

Twelve other municipalities were granted funding awards for park development or improvement projects:

•Fair Haven, $250,000 for improvements to Fair Haven Fields to include configuration of two multi-purpose fields, a new ball field, extending the existing walking trail, adding ADA bleachers and other site improvements. 

•Hazlet, $200,000 for the creation of a 0.91-mile segment of trail project at 206-acre Natco Lake. 

•Keansburg, $80,000 for the development of three tennis courts at one-acre Collins Field Park. 

•Long Branch, $208,000, for passive waterfront recreation improvements to Troutman’s Greenway Park that will include habitat restoration and fishing access.  

•Marlboro, $250,000 for the installation of a convertible baseball/softball field, walkways, bleachers and other amenities at Geoghegan Ballfield. 

•Neptune Township, $239,000 for the addition of playground equipment, safety surfacing and other amenities at three parks (Midtown Commons, Liberty Park and Pittenger Park). 

•Oceanport, $150,000 for ADA compliant restrooms, a snack bar and storage facilities at Blackberry Bay Park. 

•Red Bank, $239,000 for improvements to Bellhaven Park on the borough’s Westside that will include a swing area, playground and splash pad to the 1.25-acre park.  

•Spring Lake Heights, $188,000 for the construction on new tot lot, resurfacing of two basketball courts, ADA restroom improvements at Ocean Road Park and upgrades to a tot lot, tennis and basketball courts and other site work at Allaire Road Park.  

•Union Beach, $142,000 for the rehabilitation and expansion an existing playground at the 19-acre Scholer Park. 

•Upper Freehold, $250,000 for improvements to the 28-acre Reed Park Field that will include a perimeter trail, ADA accessible restrooms and additional amenities. 

•Wall Township, $157,000 as part of a multi-phase trail project that will extend regional bike path 0.8 miles to connect Hospital Road to Allaire Park.  Land acquisition and development for park recreation and open space purposes are made possible by the Monmouth County Municipal Open Space Grant Program, a competitive matching-funds program for municipalities sponsored by the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders and administered by the Monmouth County Park System. The maximum matching amount awarded to a particular project is $250,000. 

Since the inception of the county’s Municipal Open Space Grant program in 2003, 43 towns have successfully applied and received funding for 126 individual projects. With the inclusion of the 2011 matching grants, a total of $20,234,000 has been awarded to date.  

Applications for the 2012 Monmouth County Municipal Open Space Grant Program will be available on or about May 1. The filing deadline will be in September.  

For more information, visit the Monmouth County Park System’s Web site at www.monmouthcountyparks.com.