Six grants totaling $500,477 to local nonprofits and municipalities for open space and historic preservation projects received unanimous approval from the Warren County Board of County Commissioners last night.
Recommended by the 12-member Municipal and Charitable Conservancy Trust Fund Committee (MCCTFC), these grants will be financed through the County’s Open Space Trust, which is funded by a voter-approved dedicated tax. Since the program’s inception more than 25 years ago,
168 grants have assisted local historic and open space projects in each of Warren County’s 22 municipalities.
“I want to thank the County Commissioners for continuing to support this wonderful program. Warren County boasts so many great natural and historic treasures – it’s exciting to see our community preserving these sites,” said Corey Tierney, Director of Land Preservation. “I also want to thank the applicants for all of their hard work and the Committee members for generously volunteering their time to review the applications and visit each site,” he added.
“These projects represent some of the county’s most special places,” Commissioner Director James R. Kern III said. “Thank you to the dedicated volunteers and organizations who help keep these sites operational and open to the public. I encourage everyone to explore Warren County and see them in person,” Kern added.
Commissioner Jason J. Sarnoski also thanked Tierney and the county Land Preservation Department staff for their efforts with the grant program, explaining, “If it wasn’t for him and his staff, this wouldn’t be possible.”
“It is with great pleasure we approve these projects,” Commissioner Lori Ciesla remarked. “Preserving our heritage, culture and history is so very important and these projects will do that while also providing for the residents of today,” she added.
This year the County awarded $375,477 to four historic preservation projects and $125,000 to two open space preservation projects.Blairstown Township – Footbridge Restoration Plan: $70,189 to prepare a professional restoration plan for the pedestrian bridge at Footbridge Park.
John I. Blair installed the steel footbridge in 1893 and the property was purchased by the Township in 1959. In honor of the Nation’s Bicentennial, the Township established Footbridge Park in 1976. The footbridge now serves as an important connector between the Paulinskill Valley Trail and Footbridge Park to the Blairstown Historic District and local businesses. While structurally safe, the three overwater spans were deemed to be in poor condition by a professional engineer. Other bridge elements are also in need of repair. Restoration of the historic footbridge will ultimately be a multi-phase project as guided by the professional restoration plan.