What would you do if an approved development in your town threatened to overwhelm the scenic landscape of a much-loved local farm with offices, stores, and 590 residences? That’s the crisis that faced rural Andover Borough in Sussex County several years ago. The large-scale development of the 280-acre farm would have doubled the borough’s population, threatened an important and pristine water source, disrupted abundant wildlife habitat, and forever changed the community’s rural character. Given a choice of sitting back and waiting for the bulldozers or taking action, residents and their leaders called The Trust for Public Land for help. With support from our donors, our project team worked with the community to develop a conservation strategy, and negotiated an agreement with the landowner to acquire the farm for parkland and preservation. Our conservation finance team helped create and pass—with overwhelming voter support—a ballot measure to create a local open space trust fund, which provided additional public funding to leverage state Green Acres grants. And we raised other public and private funds to complete the project. Most of the farm—more than 220 acres—will be added to the adjacent Kittatinny Valley State Park. The borough will retain a few acres for recreation and other uses.
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Since 1972, The Trust for Public Land has protected more than 3 million acres and completed more than 5,200 park and conservation projects.