Somerset County awards $800Okay in leisure Open Area grants

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The Somerset County Board of County Commissioners awarded Open Space funding totaling $800,000, which will bring pickle-ball courts, a community gazebo and a community garden to the county. The grants awarded to Bernardsville, Hillsborough and Bedminster are “part of a commitment by the Commissioners to ensure that every resident of Somerset County can benefit from the county’s open space funds.”

“We have learned from COVID over the past two and a half years how important outdoor recreation is to living healthy, fulfilling lives in Somerset County,” said Commissioner Deputy Director Melonie Marano, liaison with the Open Space Advisory Committee (OSAC). “The Recreational Grant Program ensures that no matter where you live in Somerset County, there’s an outdoor space nearby that you can enjoy with your friends and family.”

South Bound Brook’s Memorial Park Pavilion is nearing completion, having been funded under Somerset County’s Recreational Open Space grant program in May 2021.

Earlier last year, the Somerset County Board of County Commissioners expanded the Recreation Grant Program, introduced for grass sports fields in 2008, to include funding for active and passive community recreational spaces such as athletic facilities, picnic areas, walking trails, exercise trails, gardens and more. The goal of the County Open Space Preservation Program is to continue to aggressively pursue land acquisitions for open space, but also to ensure that open space funding is distributed fairly among communities without available tracts of land.

As of July 2022, the program has committed nearly $3 million to nine projects and is expected to fund additional projects in the coming months. The currently funded projects are:

  • Manville was awarded $250,000 for his Lost Valley Nature Park project in January 2021
  • South Bound Brook was awarded $350,000 to build a new pavilion in Memorial Park in May 2021
  • Bound Brook was awarded $455,000 for improvements to its municipal pool at Codrington Park in July 2021
  • Warren was awarded $300,000 to replace the pavilion at the Municipal Complex in August 2021
  • Bridgewater awarded $350,000 for trail improvements at Camp Cromwell in October 2021
  • Franklin was awarded $360,000 to develop a playground at Catalpa Park in October 2021
  • Bernardsville was awarded $250,000 to install pickle ball courts on the polo grounds in March 2022
  • Hillsborough received $250,000 to build a community pavilion on the Mike Merdinger Memorial Trail in April 2022
  • Bedminster was awarded $300,000 to build a community garden at River Road Park in July 2022.

Communities interested in funding under the Recreation Grant Program must have a well-developed, preferably “mature” project with an estimated cost. Requests for funding may be submitted in writing to Thomas Boccino, PP, LLA, Supervising Planner-Preservation, 20 Grove St., Somerville, NJ 08876, or [email protected] If the application meets the criteria of the program, the municipality is asked to present itself to the Open Space Advisory Board. Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis with no annual submission deadline, allowing municipalities to submit their application when they are ready.

Submitted by Somerset County Board of County Commissioners