Somerset County has awarded $ 2 million to six municipalities this year for recreational open spaces.
County commissioners launched the program in January as an extension of the county’s recreation grant program, which had focused on the development of artificial turf sports fields.
The expanded program now includes funding for active and passive municipal recreational spaces such as turf sports fields, parks, picnic areas, trails and exercise tracks.
One of the goals, county officials said, was to ensure that funds for open spaces, which traditionally targeted large property acquisitions and the preservation of farmland in more suburban and rural areas of the county, are also available to more densely populated communities without large tracts of land available.
The scholarships awarded this year are:
- Manville, $ 250,000 for its Lost Valley Natural Park in the Lost Valley section of the borough along the Millstone River.
- South Bound Brook, $ 350,000 for improvements to Memorial Park.
- Bound Brook, $ 455,000 for the improvement of its municipal swimming pool in Codrington Park.
- Warren, $ 300,000 for the replacement of the Municipal Complex pavilion.
- Bridgewater, $ 350,000 for trail improvements at Camp Cromwell near Vosseller Avenue.
- Franklin, $ 360,000 for the development of a playground at Catalpa Park on Old Vliet Road.
âNo matter what community you live in, it is important for health and quality of life to have outdoor public spaces nearby that are safe and attractive,â said Chief Commissioner Shanel Robinson. âBy expanding our Open Space Grants program to include the development of new public spaces and the expansion of existing public spaces in our most densely populated communities, we are ensuring that everyone in Somerset County is benefits in the same way. “
To improve the Lord Sterling Park Environmental Education Center in Bernards, the Somerset County Park Foundation and the Somerset County Park Commission Environmental Science Department launched the âRebuild the Parkwaysâ campaign to raise $ 10,000.
The funds will be used to purchase materials to repair and replace 4 mile sections of walking trails that have been damaged due to natural causes and wear and tear from pedestrian use. Donations will be accepted until December 31.
âThe pandemic has rekindled the public’s desire to embrace nature and the outdoors. As a result, there has been an increase in foot traffic in our parks, âsaid Somerset County Parks Commission Secretary-Director Geoffrey Soriano. âNot only the wear and tear caused by foot traffic, but the weather has damaged miles of walking trails. We want to embrace the public’s renewed interest in nature and our parks by providing healthy and safe access to trails. These repairs must therefore be carried out.
Volunteers and maintenance workers have been performing repairs since 2015.
To date, the foundation has received $ 4,020 for the project.
Donations can be made online at promenades.givesmart.com or mailed to Somerset County Park Foundation, Warning: Rebuild the Boardwalks. PO Box 5147, North Branch, NJ 08876
For more information, contact Carrie Springer, Manager of Environmental Sciences, at [email protected] or call 908-722-1200, ext. 5324.
Email: [email protected]
Mike Deak is a reporter for mycentraljersey.com. To get unlimited access to his Somerset and Hunterdon Counties articles, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.