(East Greenwich, NJ) - Gloucester County Freeholder Director Robert M. Damminger and Freeholder Frank J. DiMarco presented the deed for 43 acres of permanently preserved open space to East Greenwich Mayor Fred Grant and Deputy Mayor Sam Giordano Jr. today.
"There had been approvals for construction of 13 single family homes on this land, but now it will be permanently preserved as open space," said Freeholder Director Damminger at the deed signing ceremony. "Investing in open space is an investment in the future of a community and in the environment and we commend East Greenwich for working to save this land from development," Director Damminger stated.
The total purchase price for the 43 acres known as the Peaslee property was $827,000.00; with the Township paying $206,750, and the County paying $620,250. The County has applied for a reimbursement from the State for 50% of the acquisition costs.
The property is on Kings Highway and located is directly across the street from 243 acres of permanently preserved farmland. The property is in close proximity to an additional 59 acres of preserved open space and more than 300 acres of permanently preserved farmland.
Freeholder Director Damminger noted that in October of 2010 the county and township officials had preserved 49 acres of Open Space at the corner of Tomlin Station Road and Wolfert Station Road in East Greenwich. East Greenwich now has 1,413 acres of permanently preserved Open Space and farmland.
Freeholder Frank J. DiMarco said that through the County's Farmland Preservation Program County is headed to preserve 70 acres of farmland in East Greenwich later this week. The property on Democrat Road, in close proximity to more than 250 acres of permanently preserved farmland, is land that had previously received approvals for the construction of 49 single family homes.
"East Greenwich has been an area of growth and for the county and the municipality to work together to save Open Spaces and preserve farmland is vitally important to the future of this community. If this land was not preserved we would be looking at the addition of more than 60 new homes here and that would place a big strain on the infrastructure, the schools and local government services like police and public works," said Freeholder DiMarco, liaison to the Office of Land Preservation.
East Greenwich Mayor Fred Grant said, "We would not be able to keep our rural character without the Open Space and Farmland Preservation programs. We are grateful that the county is in a position to assist in purchasing the open space and farmland. It is of the utmost importance that East Greenwich maintains its agricultural character and save our farms, while curbing residential development which drives up property taxes."
Freeholder DiMarco noted that the Office of Land Preservation has a record number of settlements scheduled to preserve farmland throughout March, totaling 364 acres by the end of the month.
In addition to the Peaslee Open Space property, and the 70 acres of Farmland scheduled for settlement in East Greenwich later this week, the County is slated to preserve 53 acres of farmland in Woolwich, 31 acres of Farmland in South Harrison, 7 acres in Harrison and four separate farms in Franklin Township under a Planning Incentive Grant.