Funding for nine Morris County open space projects were approved by the Morris County Board of Chosen Freeholders on Wednesday.
Freeholders approved shifting $4.4 million from the county's Preservation Trust Fund to help preserve 84 acres of open space in eight towns. The largest grant award, $2,075,000, will go to the Harding Land Trust for preservation of 43.5 acres in Harding and Morris townships known as "Frelinghuysen Fields 2."
A grant of $1,575,000 was awarded to Morristown to acquire nearly an acre of land occupied by Grow it Green Morristown's Early Street Community Garden. For several years, the non-profit organization has maintained the garden on land once slated for development.
The money approved by freeholders will in part be used to expand the number of garden beds, provide a public park area along the sidewalk and establish a publicly-accessible walking path through the garden.
Haake, project manager for Trust for Public Land—the national land preservation organization handling purchase of the Morristown property—thanked county freeholders for recognizing the importance of the project.
"An urban garden is a great way to get people you don't typically see out on the land," she said. "It's definitely a community builder. This type of urban area benefits from this. We really appreciate the support of the Morris County Freeholders."
The Frelinghuysen Fields property, southeast of Harter Road and James Street on the Harding and Morris Township border, consists of wooded wetlands surrounded by crop and pastureland, and will be used for passive recreation.
Other preservation projects were in Denville, Chatham Township, Mountain Lakes, Washington Township and Pequannock. More information can be found on the Morris County Preservation Trust website.