Paterson Gets Little County Open Space $
Thursday, October 11, 2012 • 7:15am
PATERSON, NJ – Passaic County has unveiled more than $1.65 million in proposed open space grants, but just $146,500 is earmarked for projects in Paterson.
That’s because the city has failed to spend about $1.3 million in previously awarded grants, according to county officials.
Two private groups - the Paterson Veterans Council and the New Jersey Community Development Corporation - are handling the two Paterson projects getting funding, which are improvements to Vietnam Vets Memorial Park and William Carlos Williams Community Park.
The Passaic County freeholders on Tuesday held a public hearing on open space grants of more than $100,000. They are:
- Clifton: Main Memorial Park Pond Rehab/Restoration – Request $200,000; Recommendation: $200,000
- Passaic: Christopher Columbus Park: Request: $359,909; Recommendation: $200,000
- Wayne: Athletic Field Development at Van Houten-Burroughs Site (Alps Road) – Request: $1.5 million; Recommendation: $200,000
- Woodland Park: Frank D. Zaccaria Park “Splash Pad” – Request and recommendation: $150,000
“These open space awards are important investments in protecting Passaic County’s environment and public parks for generations to come,” said Freeholder Director Pat Lepore in a press release. “These funding awards to a diverse group of municipalities and non-profit organizations are going to improve our quality of life, create a more sustainable environmental, and make our public parks in Passaic County among the best in New Jersey.”
“I am proud that we are able to award each municipal applicant before the Open Space Trust Fund Advisory Committee funding,” stated Freeholder and Open Space Trust Fund Advisory Committee Member T.J. Best. “Passaic County remains a leader in New Jersey in protecting our environment and sustaining a high quality of life for our residents.”
Paterson had applied for funding for Eastside Park’s concession stand, Totowa Oval, the park at School 18, the restoration of the Van Houten House at Westside Park, the restoration of the Eastside Park tennis courts, the renovation of Buckley Park, and the city’s historic park walking tour project.
The county this year decided not to give new grants to municipalities that had large amounts of unexpended open space money. Municipal officials say the main reason they have a backlog of $1.3 million in unspent funds is that much of the money was earmarked for initiatives associated with the Great Falls. Those projects had been on hold pending the federal government’s decision to create a national park at the Falls, officials said.
Over the past 12 years, Paterson taxpayers have kicked in $7 million to the county open space fund, which is generated through a surcharge on property taxes, according to city finance documents. In that time, Paterson has gotten $2.3 million worth of projects.
The freeholders will vote to adopt the open space grants larger than $100,000 after a 45-day public comment period.
In September, the board voted to approve its grants of less than $100,000. They were:
- Bloomingdale Delazier Field House Restrooms - $78,000
- Haledon Roe Athletic Field Improvements - $75,000
- Hawthorne Band shell - $65,000
- Little Falls Amity Park improvements - $79,670
- New Jersey Community Development Corporation for improvements to the Wm. Carlos Williams Community Park in Paterson - $99,000
- North Haledon Yahn’s Pond Project (Phase II) - $75,000
- Passaic River Coalition to acquire 3.5 acres off Burnt Meadow in Ringwood - $105,000
- Paterson Veteran’s Council for improvements to the Vietnam Vets Memorial Park - $47,500
- Pompton Lakes’ Hershfield Park Tennis Court (Phase II) - $75,000
- Ringwood Dog Park - $35,000
- Wayne Little League for field improvements - $99,000
- West Milford for West Brook Park improvements - $77,500