Ridgewood Horse Farm Protected as Park (NJ)

Ridgewood, NJ, 5/3/04: The Trust for Public Land and the village of Ridgewood announced today the conservation of ten acres in the village of Ridgewood, Bergen County. Neighbors and school children have been welcomed to the stables at the Ridgewood Horse Farm for years to view the horses grazing in the meadow and being trained in the exercise ring. Now this property will be permanently preserved and will soon be opened to the public.

“This is the largest remaining parcel of open space in Ridgewood,” said Terrence Nolan, project manager for the Trust for Public Land. “Protection of this parcel will impact a community that has been effectively built out and is in need of parkland. The Village of Ridgewood is committed to investing in the property to make it a first class park available to residents for generations to come. It has been a pleasure to work with the village in this most critical acquisition”

In the face of competing bids from developers, the Trust for Public Land was able to negotiate the purchase of the property, which will be immediately transferred to the Village of Ridgewood. Funding for the $7.4 million purchase was made available through a combination of funds from the Village of Ridgewood Open Space tax and general taxes ($2.8million); New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Infrastructure Trust Loan ($2.2 million low interest loan); Bergen County Open Space Trust Fund ($1.5 million); and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Green Acres Program ($900,000 in grants to the Village of Ridgewood and the Trust for Public Land).

The property is located on the Ho-Ho-Kus Brook, a tributary of the Passaic River and also includes wetlands, fields and a pond. The property’s diverse topography will offer a variety of opportunities for the public to enjoy. Public meetings to determine the exact use of the property, which will be facilitated by a professional park planner will be held over the course of the next several months. The first meeting will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday May 5, 2004 at the Village Council Work Session in the library auditorium.

“This is exactly the type of property acquisition we envisioned when the residents of Ridgewood passed the Open Space Tax referendum,” said Ridgewood Mayor Jane Reilly. “How fortunate for us that we can see their foresight rewarded with the purchase of the Horse Farm, a property for which so many Ridgewood people have a deep, emotional attachment.”

“The County’s Open Space Trust Fund provides an important source of funding to assist our municipalities in protecting its last remaining open spaces, providing improvements to much-need municipal and county recreation facilities, and assisting in preserving our local history and remaining agricultural properties,” said County Executive Dennis McNerney. “The award to Ridgewood is one of 270 Trust Fund awards, totaling more than $41 million, granted by the county.”

“It is only through partnerships like this one that we can protect the last remaining open spaces in our communities and, with that, preserve habitat, recreational opportunities, and quality of life,” said Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell.

The Trust for Public Land is a national nonprofit land conservation organization that conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, and other natural places, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. With a state office in Morristown, TPL has protected more than 19,000 acres in New Jersey to date. Earlier this year, TPL protected the 1,200-acre Gerard Woods property in Sussex County and 43 acres in Sparta Township. The Trust for Public Land depends on the support and generosity of individuals, foundations, and businesses to achieve our land for people mission. For more information visit www.tpl.org.