Allentown officials eye preservation of parcel on borough’s borders

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ALLENTOWN – Borough officials have opened a dialogue with their counterparts in neighboring Robbinsville with the goal of preserving a piece of property on the border of the two municipalities.

Borough Council President Thomas Fritts, speaking during the Sept. 24 meeting of the governing body, said the preservation of open space has been a topic of discussion in Allentown for years, and more specifically the preservation of open space on the borough’s borders.

One such open space parcel is the Wittenborn property in Robbinsville. The tract is on Robbinsville-Allentown Road (Route 526), which becomes Church Street in Allentown.

Fritts said it is important for Allentown to have a cordial relationship with its neighbors because “if people on our fringes don’t like us, they won’t work with us. Robbinsville has preservation interests and they are willing to work with us on preservation.”

He said Robbinsville officials have ordered an appraisal of the Wittenborn property and said Allentown is waiting to hear the results of that appraisal.

Councilman Rob Schmitt said the Wittenborn property has historical significance in the region where Monmouth and Mercer counties meet.

Schmitt said Allentown officials are also hoping to reinstitute a shared service agreement with Robbinsville through which the larger municipality would provide emergency public works services to the borough.

In late 2016, Robbinsville officials made the decision to discontinue the agreement.

“We are on the right path with Robbinsville, we are moving forward, we are not looking back,” Fritts said.

In other business on Sept. 24, council members passed a resolution supporting the submission of a grant application to the Monmouth County History Regrant Program by the Allentown Historic Preservation Review Commission.

The commission is submitting a special projects grant and is requesting $2,000.

If selected to receive a grant, the commission intends to use the funding for two historical markers: one which will commemorate the location of the Union African Methodist Episcopal Church Cemetery and one which will commemorate where the Underground Railroad passed through Allentown, according to the resolution.