SOUTH BRUNSWICK – The 192-acre, historically important Pulda Farm in South Brunswick has been preserved forever now that the purchase of the land has been finalized, county officials announced Friday.
Middlesex County Freeholder Carol Barrett Bellante spearheaded the move to preserve the land while she served as South Brunswick Deputy Mayor and continued her support as a freeholder. The total cost was $7.5 million, funded by the Township of South Brunswick with $2.5 million in Open Space money and Middlesex County with $2.5 million from its Open Space funds and $2.5 million from its state Green Acres funding.
“This is a great day for Middlesex County,” said Bellante. “This environmentally and historically important land will be saved forever because of the cooperation between the people of South Brunswick, the Township and County and I cannot be more thrilled. Our children and our children’s children are the real benefactors of this action because an important part of our heritage has been preserved.”
The purchase prevents development of the property, which could have been subdivided into 52 residential lots. The land is adjacent to Pigeon Swamp State Forest, the only water supply in Middlesex County with the State Department of Environmental Protection’s most protected status.
The property also has historical significance. It was originally owned by the Van Dyke family, early settlers of South Brunswick in 1652. The property was part of an original land grant from King George III of England. There is documented history of slavery on the farm and slave quarters are still intact.
“By saving Pulda Farm, we continue to preserve the county’s agricultural heritage. The farm is the only Van Dyke homestead remaining in the Davidson Mill Road area and is an example of a mid-19th century farmstead that has been relatively well-preserved, and that has maintained a large portion of land for farming, an activity that reflects the lifestyle of early South Brunswick Township,” Bellante said.
“I am extremely pleased with the Open Space acquisition of the Pulda Farm,” said Mayor Frank Gambatese. “This a true example of county, state and municipal government working together to preserve the quality of life for not only the residents of South Brunswick Township but also the residents of the Central New Jersey Region. This purchase eliminated the potential for the building of 52 single-family homes, which would have impacted our school system and our local environment.”
“This is the right thing to do for the people of Middlesex County,” said Freeholder Director Christopher D. Rafano. “My Freeholder colleagues and I are committed to preserving as much open space as we can to protect the environment and safeguard the county’s agricultural past. With the purchase of the Pulda Farm, we reach those goals and also save our taxpayers money because no additional infrastructure, such as roads and utilities, will have to be built and maintained.”
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