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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 13, 2009



Union County Adds Five Acres of Open Space
New purchases will preserve a rare urban farm and expand existing parks


Elizabeth, NJ – The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders has authorized the purchase of three important parcels of open space in Clark, Plainfield, and Rahway, preserving the land from development.  The three purchases add up to $1.74 million for more than five acres.  All funding comes from the Union County Open Space, Recreation and Historic Preservation Trust Fund.

The largest single purchase is 2.54 acres in Rahway at 537 Bramhall Road, for $1.2 million.  The property is currently a horse farm including barns and other buildings.  The structures have no historic designation but several are over 100 years old.  The property is among the last remaining farms in Union County, making it an ideal candidate for acquisition through the Open Space fund.

“In the midst of a densely developed region, our communities are the beneficiaries of beautiful open spaces and a world class public parks system, all preserved through the efforts of past generations,” said Freeholder Chairman Alexander Mirabella.  “I am very proud of the support that my fellow Union County residents have given to improving upon this legacy.”

Over the past eight years, Union County has added more than 300 acres of open space to its parks system, which now totals more than 6,600 acres.  Funding for these acquisitions is through the Open Space Trust Fund.  The Fund was established by popular referendum in 2000.
The other two purchases involve unique opportunities to buffer two relatively new County parks from encroaching development.  One is a parcel of 1.1 acres at 951-959 Leland Avenue in Plainfield for $212,500.  It will expand the six-acre Peterson Farm, named after its former owner who established a dairy farm there in 1885.  Family members continue to live on and farm the property under a purchase agreement with the County.

The other is a parcel of 1.49 acres at 675 Madison Hill Road in Clark, which will expand the 13-acre Esposito Park.   This park was also named after its former owner, Peter J. Esposito, who operated a farm on the site.  Esposito Park features a recreation area with tennis courts, playground, picnic area, skateboard park, restrooms, and a multipurpose softball and soccer field.