South Brunswick added about 40 acres of open space after the Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders approved the acquisition of the Himmell Property last week. The property, located in the area of Broadway Road and Friendship Road, now joins together with the existing Ireland Brook Conservation Area to create 484 acres of contiguous, undeveloped land.
"Through our ongoing partnership with the Middlesex County Improvement Authority, South Brunswick Township has preserved hundreds of acres of open space," said Public Affairs Coordinator Ron Schmalz. "Every time we add to open space, it improves the quality of life for our residents. We're very happy about this and we enjoy working with the county in this partnership. We wouldn't be able to add as much open space as we have without their help."
County officials will seek to offset the $850,000 purchase by applying to the Green Acres Fund for financial assistance. The acquisition is expected to be complete by fall 2012.
“By preserving the Himmel Property we allow for an uninterrupted sprawl of open space,” said former South Brunswick Deputy Mayor and current Freeholder Carol Barrett Bellante, liaison to the County’s Open Space Advisory Committee. “At the same time, we stymie potential development, which can typically become a burden on local infrastructure, not to mention taxpayers.”
County officials said the purchase falls in line with the Open Space Master Plan’s objective of pursuing properties that can be added to existing parkland.
“Since 1995, Middlesex County has made land preservation a top priority,” said Freeholder Director Christopher D. Rafano. “With the support of constituents, both the Freeholders and the Middlesex County Improvement Authority have worked tirelessly to protect what remains of our undeveloped lands. In doing so, we’ve been able to preserve forever 7,457 acres of open space property to date.”
Over the last 8 years alone, South Brunswick has added over 2,000 acres of open space.
"This purchase by the county adds to our open space inventory and ensures a continuous green belt in the area of Broadway Road and Friendship Road," Schmalz said.