County allots more than $2.5 million for municipal projects

FREEHOLD, NJ  – The Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders has approved grants totaling $2.5 million from the 2010 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 more than 100 projects in our communities,” said Freeholder Director Lillian G. Burry, liaison to the county’s Park System that administers the grants. “Sharing the cost of these municipal projects supports and improves the quality of life in our communities and furthers the county’s ongoing commitment to land preservation for parks, recreation, open space and farmland.”

All of the county’s 53 municipalities were eligible to apply for land acquisition and park facility funding awards. Seventeen towns submitted complete and eligible applications for this year’s funding. The total of all requests was $3.3 million. This is the eighth year of the program.

Four grants for open space or park acquisition projects were awarded:

  • Aberdeen, $250,000 for the acquisition of 20.4 acres to provide active and passive recreation use that includes a wooded area along a creek for hiking and nature viewing.
  • Manalapan, $225,000 toward the purchase of 7.96 acres of hardwood forest that will further preservation along the Manalapan Brook. The property is adjacent to 20 acres of existing municipal open space.
  • Marlboro, $250,000 for the acquisition of 16.8 acres of the Smith Farm that will provide open space and recreation space within walking distance of local neighborhoods.
  • Wall, $225,000 for the acquisition of 1.86 acres as an addition to Community Park.

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

  • Asbury Park, $250,000 for improvements to a new 1.35-acre park that will include a civic plaza, playground and walking/jogging path.
  • Avon-by-the-Sea, $250,000 for development of facilities at Riverfront Park that will expand park and recreation opportunities year round at the waterfront.
  • Fair Haven, $90,000 for improvements to McCarter Park and pond improvements. Work will include the reconstruction and irrigation of a youth baseball field, installation of trails and adding an aeration and filtrations system at the pond.
  • Middletown, $200,000 for the first phase of improvements to improve beach and water access at Ideal Beach Park. The work is defined in the park’s master plan generated through he Neighborhood Strategic Revitalization Plan process.
  • Millstone, $200,000 for the first phase of improvements at Millstone Park that will include  construction of a building to house an indoor turf area and support amenities.
  • Neptune Township, $250,000 for the replacement of 325 linear feet of the wall on the south side of Wesley Lake.
  • Oceanport, $25,000 for the creation of a one mile compacted gravel walking trail at Maria Gatta Community Park. When completed, this will be the first recreation trail in the town.
  • Red Bank, $250,000 for the installation a synthetic turf field as part of the third phase of improvements at the Count Basie Park.
  • Union Beach, $35,000 for the third phase of improvements at Scholer Park. This work will include the rehabilitation of two basketball courts.

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 1993, 43 towns have successfully applied and received funding for 103 individual projects. With the inclusion of the 2010 matching grants, a total of $17,631,000 has been awarded to date.

Applications for the 2010 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.