Allaire State Park Expands

first_imgFor the township, everyacre that gets preserved isone less acre that can getbuilt on. WALL TOWNSHIP – Allaire State Park, a 3,278-acre home to oak and pine trees, wildlife and even a river, was expanded by nearly 200 acres in a deal that keeps the forested land in Wall Township along Route 34 from ever being developed. By Philip Sean Curran “They’ve already gotan extensive set of trailsthrough the existing park,”Kastning said. “I imaginethey’ll extend those trails.But they want to keep it inits natural state.” The former Fred McDowell property in Wall Township will now be preserved as a part of Allaire State Park.Photo courtesy the State of New Jersey The MCF, a Lincroft-based nonprofit that preserves open space and farmland around the county as part of its mission, said the sale closed Aug. 29. “It’s not a major acquisition in terms of adding a significant amount of size to the park,” Kastning said of the 190 acres in Wall. “But it is significant because it could have been developed instead and it protects a habitat and a forest.” The state must now determine how it intends to use the newly acquired property, at a park where there are trails, camping sites and other amenities for the public to enjoy. A spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Protection could not be reached for comment. Wall Township Mayor Kevin P. Orender said the concrete had been dumped in the woods during work on I-195, “so we’re going to help them get it out of there.” Kastning said the township and the state are providing labor, Wall also is providing equipment and the foundation will provide dumpsters through a donation from one of its board members. Kastning said the property had to be appraised by two certified appraisers and the parties had to resolve who would be responsible for removing concrete from part of the site. “Over a year or (more), we had conversations to determine the price and various caveats to the deal,” Kastning said. “So what we negotiated, then, was a deal that involves Wall Township, the state parks system and MCF, where we’d agree to, within one year after the closing, we’d remove the surface concrete.” The Murphy administration and the Monmouth Conservation Foundation (MCF) pooled $3.8 million to buy the property from the estate of Wall resident Fred McDowell, a businessman who died in 2016. The MCF provided $201,000 and the state provided the rest. “It was critical because, for decades, the state park system has wanted this property since it abuts Allaire,” MCF executive director William Kastning said. “Anything that increases an existing park, whether it be a state park, county park or a local municipality park, is good. So it provided not only additional habitat and also trail opportunity associated with Allaire, but it also prevented the development of the site.” He said the zoning for the land would have allowed the property to be developed, possibly for residential housing. This is not the first time the conservation foundation and the state have joined forces. Kastning said the state was involved in a deal in Upper Freehold to help acquire 1,200 acres that used to be a nursery. “I’m not a fan of affordable housing, we’re mandated by the state to do this,” Orender said. “Any way, shape or form we can limit where we’re going to build, it’s a win for everyone. So I like to keep as much property as green as possible.” The Monmouth Conservation Foundation, a 42-year-old organization, was involved in a project with Monmouth County to help acquire land in the River Plaza section of Middletown that became Swimming River Park.last_img

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