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Early Street Community Garden to be Preserved

Town Council also introduces ordinance on parking near high school.

Thanks to grants from Morris County and the state, Morristown is moving ahead to buy the property that is home to the Early Street Community Garden.

On Tuesday, the council introduced an ordinance to purchase the property, owned by Early Development LLC, for $2.1 million. The final adoption of the ordinance for the acquisition of the property, along with a public hearing, is scheduled for the March 12 council meeting.

The town had been awarded a $487,500 grant from the Green Acres program of the state Department of Environmental Protection and an $1,575,000 grant from the Morris County Open Space Trust Fund to buy the almost 1-acre parcel occupied by Grow it Green Morristown's Early Street Community Garden. Also being used toward the purchase of the property, adjacent to senior citizen housing in the Speedwell neighborhood, is a $25,000 private grant.

Once the property is purchased by the town, it will then be leased to Grow it Green Morristown. The nonprofit organization has maintained the garden on land once slated for development.

Some of the grant money will be used to expand the number of garden beds, provide a public park area along the sidewalk and establish a publicly-accessible walking path through the garden. Last year, more than 50 families participated in the garden, which opened in 2009.

Samantha Rothman, one of the garden’s co-founders, thanked the council for approving the purchase. “It’s a wonderful place,” she said.

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In other action on Tuesday, the council approved the introduction of an ordinance to establish two-hour residential parking limitations on Colonial Road, Gallagher Road and Milton Place. The limitations will be in effect 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Ward III Councilman Stefan Armington said the ordinance arose from neighborhood concerns about high school students parking on the streets. 

Armington explained that the town’s parking authority will be offering alternative parking for the students. Those plans are still being finalized, he said.

The council also approved $100,000 to re-surface the tennis courts in Lidgerwood Park. 

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