New Trail Projects Recommended for 2022 Morris County Funding
Eight Projects Submitted by Trail Construction Grant Advisory Committee.
The Morris County Board of County Commissioners received a recommendation today to award eight trail projects for a total of $528,265 as part of the 7-year-old Morris County Trail Construction Grant Program.
Betty Cass-Schmidt, Chairwoman of the Trail Construction Grant Advisory Committee, presented the 2022 grant recommendations to the County Commissioners during their public work session in Morristown. Since its inception, the Commissioner-appointed advisory committee has recommended a total of 47 grant awards totaling 28 miles, and 21 of the projects have been completed.
“The program continues to build momentum. Each year we see new municipalities who had not previously participated, apply to the program. There are also municipalities returning to the program who have had success in previous years. Nine municipalities have received more than one grant. Municipalities have the option to submit a design and permitting or a construction application. This allows municipalities to choose a trail development strategy that fits their needs and financial structure and results in better trails for residents,” said Cass-Schmidt
The County Commissioners will vote on whether to accept the grant recommendations at their Dec. 21, 2022 meeting.
“Since the first trail grant award in 2016 this program has been very well received by our municipalities and citizens. As with our Open Space and Historic Preservation programs, the trail network we have been developing throughout Morris County offers an easy and accessible respite to everyone looking to get outside, exercise or even just to clear their head – by walking, jogging and riding bikes through our bucolic towns. While the county oversees some very important educational, human service, infrastructure and public safety functions, we view this as an equally important service to maintain and reinforce the excellent quality of life we have in Morris County,” said Commissioner Stephen Shaw, the board liaison to Morris County’s Office of Planning and Preservation.
Funding for trail projects is derived from Morris County’s voter-approved Morris County Preservation Trust Fund, which was established in 1992 and subsequently modified with voter approval in 2002 to establish a Historic Preservation Fund. In 2014, voters approved a ballot question by a margin of 3 to 1 to modify the fund again, this time allowing trail development as an allowable use for a portion of the trust fund money.
If the recommended projects are approved by the County Commissioners, Morris County will have dedicated nearly $5 million towards establishing 28.37 miles of trails in just seven years since the inception of the Trail Construction Grant program in 2016.
Purpose of Funding: The purpose of the grant program is to provide recreational trail use opportunities, which benefit the communities and enhance the quality of life for the residents of Morris County.
Who is Eligible: Any of the thirty-nine municipalities in the County of Morris, New Jersey. Municipalities are limited to one application per funding cycle.
Permissible Uses and Projects: Construction of new trails for both motorized and non-motorized uses, and trail enhancements, including improved trails to accommodate increased volume and/or compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Funding is considered only if the land on which a trail is to be constructed is:
- Located in Morris County
- Owned by the municipality in full and or via permanent easements
- Permanently preserved public parkland or private land with dedicated easements for public recreation use
- On land with a permanent easement for public trail/recreational provided to the municipality
- In full municipal control of all land and/or easements on which trail(s) are to be funded
For more information, visit Morris County’s Trail Construction Grant Program website.