Drew Forest Recommended for $5 Million Preservation Grant
Published on November 09, 2023
Morris County’s Open Space Trust Fund Committee tonight recommended that the Board of County Commissioners approve $5 million to assist Madison Borough in acquiring and preserving a 51-acre forest section of Drew University known as Drew Forest.
The Madison application was the only Open Space application received and presented to the Commissioners by the Open Space Trust Fund Committee for 2023. The Commissioners will make a formal decision later this year on whether to accept the recommendation.
“The Open Space Trust Fund Committee has recommended a considerable amount of funding in response to Madison’s application. This is the first time the Committee has presented its recommendation to the Board of County Commissioners. We thank them for their work,” said Commissioner Director John Krickus.
Jay Thomson, who chairs the 15-member Morris County Open Space Trust Fund Committee, presented the recommendation to the Commissioners. He noted the recommended funding, if accepted by the Commissioners, would constitute the first major funding commitment made to assist Madison’s effort to purchase the property from Drew University.
"The committee carefully considered all aspects of Madison’s application, including the written and in-person public comments, the information obtained during the site inspections, the answers Madison provided to questions from the committee members, the current status of negotiations between the parties, the potential for alternative funding sources, and reached a consensus regarding the recommendation." said Thomson.
Funding for Morris County open space acquisitions and preservation comes from the voter-approved Morris County Open Space & Farmland Preservation Trust Fund, which is generated by a special county tax. The funding source also is used for farmland and historic preservation, county parkland acquisition, trail development and the purchase of residential properties prone to flooding.
Since 1994, the Morris County Open Space Program has preserved more than 17,800 acres – which is larger than the Township of Parsippany Troy-Hills – with approximately $295 million generated by the county preservation tax approved overwhelmingly by voters in November 1992.