Preserving Open Space In Woodbridge

By Mayor John McCormac

I am pleased to report that the Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders recently approved the purchase of two tracts of undeveloped land in Woodbridge Township as part of Middlesex County’s and Woodbridge Township’s open space land preservation program.

The county-sponsored open space land purchase will add more than ten acres to Woodbridge Township’s open space and environmental resource inventory – currently in excess of 286 preserved open space acres – will expand the county-owned Merrill Park with additional recreational area, and will curtail any future development next to Indiana Avenue School #18 in Iselin and near Woodbridge High School.

I was honored to make the announcement at Indiana Avenue School #18 with Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders Director David B. Crabiel, Freeholder Stephen J. “Pete” Dalina, County Parks Director Ralph Albanir, Woodbridge Township Municipal Councilmen Jim Major and Charles Kenny, representatives of the Woodbridge Township Board of Education, and neighborhood residents, parents and students.

The Open Space/Green Acres purchase included 7.5 acres of undeveloped land along Elizabeth Avenue and Winding Road, near Indiana Avenue School #18 in Iselin, and a second parcel totaling just over three acres along Harrell Avenue in Woodbridge ~ the total purchase price for the 10.5 acres was $2,389, 800. Specifically, the County purchased land owned by the Woodbridge Board of Education off Elizabeth Avenue and next to Indiana Avenue School #18 for $775,000 – the purchase will become part of the county-owned Merrill Park. The open space purchase will curtail the development of at least five residential properties and will keep traffic congestion in the area more manageable.

Additionally, the Open Space purchase included a similar undeveloped area totaling three acres along Harrell Avenue in Woodbridge, behind Woodbridge High School at a price of $1,614,800. The property was also owned by the Board of Education. The undeveloped lots on Harrell Avenue are located on a residential street on either side of several homes and will remain as open space. Over the years, developers have sought these building lots, but Woodbridge neighbors and residents have consistently voiced their opinion in opposition to any future development.

As we all know, Open Space has become a rare commodity in Woodbridge Township. I want to make it clear that our goal is to make certain that any land that is undeveloped will stay that way. While we are looking at redevelopment and/or rehabilitation of various areas throughout the Township, we are only targeting areas that have become dilapidated, underutilized, or that have the potential to offer better, more economical use. We’re going to keep our parks and playgrounds as open space.

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