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Monroe approves largest open space acquisition in history

MONROE – Monroe Township Council members have secured 412 acres of environmentally-sensitive land along Perrineville Road, the township’s largest open space acquisition in the municipality’s history.

The council unanimously secured the land from the New Jersey Turnpike Authority (NJTA) during a council meeting on Sept. 6.

The NJTA will transfer the property – which runs adjacent to the Millstone River and includes 80 acres of man-made wetlands, six acres of vernal pool habitat and 186,000 new trees and shrubs – to Monroe as part of an agreement stemming from a recent New Jersey Turnpike widening project, according to information provided by the township.

“I was pleased to work with the NJTA to secure this very significant tract of land and to safeguard its many ecological treasures,” Monroe Mayor Gerald W. Tamburro said in a prepared statement. “This brings our township close to 8,000 acres of preserved property – a major milestone within our community. Our long-term preservation goals stand to benefit our current residents and the generations to come.”

Township officials expect to take full ownership of the parcel by the year’s end, according to the statement.

“We are making major gains toward our goal of preserving 50 percent of the township,” said Councilman Michael Leibowitz, who dually serves as a member of the township’s Open Space and Farmland Preservation Commission. “In the bigger picture, our efforts are centered around not only preserving land, but preserving the quality of life and the character of this town.”

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