Saturday, January 29, 2011

310 Acres Getting Preserved in Tewksbury!

Here's a nice big purchase, which will create nearly 900 acres of contiguous green space:

TEWKSBURY TWP. — The township will chip in $300,000 of Green Acres money to help the New Jersey Conservation Foundation and three non-profit partners preserve 160 acres of the landmark Hill & Dale Farm here.

The foundation is coordinating a $7.2 million preservation effort to turn 160 acres on Hill and Dale Road into a nature and agriculture preserve. Another 150 acres of the farm is the subject of a state farmland preservation application.

In October, $738,000 more in private funding was needed to complete the deal. The township’s money will be in the form of a matching grant so the groups must come up with the matching amount. Since October, $230,000 has been raised, according to the foundation, including $14,270 at a dinner at the Tewksbury Inn.

The township had tentatively designated the $300,000 previously so that money does not count toward the $738,000. The Township Committee made it official with a resolution adopted on Jan. 11.

Originally a dairy farm, Hill & Dale has served as an equestrian facility in recent decades. Along with the Tewksbury Land Trust, Upper Raritan Watershed Association and Lamington Conservancy, the foundation has secured nearly $5.5 million in financial commitments and is awaiting another $1 million in pending approvals, for a total of almost $6.5 million.

The funding package consists of $2.3 million in state Green Acres grants, $2.3 million in state Natural Resource Damages funds, $1 million from Hunterdon County, $652,500 from the state Water Supply Authority and $192,000 in grants from the federal Farm and Ranchlands Preservation Program.

Preservation of Hill & Dale Farm would create an 830-acre contiguous green belt of preserved open space and farmland, extending from the township’s Hell Mountain Preserve eastward to the county’s Cold Brook Preserve off Route 517 in Oldwick.

In addition to the 310 acres to be preserved, a 13-acre parcel within the farm, containing a cottage and historic barn, will be sold privately. Several other houses and farm buildings on Hill & Dale Farm will remain in the possession of the Rothpletz family, its owners. The family has applied to sell developments rights to the 150-acre section to the State Agriculture Development Board in the form of a farmland easement.

For information about donating to create the preserve, contact Beth Davisson, project manager for the foundation, at 908-234-1225 or

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