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Freeholders working to Preserve Open Space in Swedesboro, Clayton and Monroe – Farmland in East Greenwich

July 25, 2012 (Woodbury, NJ) – The Gloucester County Board of Chosen Freeholders will consider several measures at their regular meeting that will take steps in preserving open space in Swedesboro, Clayton and Monroe Townships. They will also consider a Planning Incentive Grant (PIG) for East Greenwich Township that preserve farmland forever, rather than the property becoming an 83-home development.

“There is a lot of activity taking place now with the county’s ability to save open space and to keep land in its natural state rather than becoming more housing developments,” said Freeholder Director Robert M. Damminger. “We have been working with Swedesboro, Clayton, Monroe and East Greenwich Townships to add land to the permanently preserved status of open space or farmland.  It’s a win-win for our taxpayers and our environment when we can accomplish this,” Damminger said.

The actions being considered are the preliminary steps to add the Swedesboro Auction into the County’s Open Space Program with Swedesboro taking ownership of the property after settlement; adding 39 contiguous acres in Clayton and Monroe to the County’s Scotland Run Park and applying for a Planning Incentive Grant toward the purchase of easement rights to permanently preserve farmland in East Greenwich that currently has approval for construction of 83 new homes.

Freeholder Director Damminger said, “The County is eligible for a fifty-percent reimbursement of the purchase price of open space from the state, and almost $1 million from a USDA Federal Farms and Ranchlands Protection grant to preserve the 114 acres of farmland in East Greenwich. We have been working with these municipalities to save this land because it keeps the environment clean and the burden on the infrastructure low.”

Freeholder Taliaferro said that the parcel of property that would be preserved as open space in Clayton is approved for a 23-home development.  “Once this land is gone for development we cannot get it back.  By saving this land as open space and adding it to Scotland Run Park it will bring the total amount of contiguously preserved land associated with the park to 993-acres.  It’s a rare opportunity that the county gets to expand our parks,” said Taliaferro, who is the liaison to the Office of Land Preservation and the Department of Parks and Recreation.