Morris County Trail Grant Program Marks Eighth Year with Over $300K in New Trail Projects


The County's Trail Construction Grant Program Recommends Funding for Vital Trail Developments in Madison and Morristown.

The Morris County Trail Construction Grant Program, now in its eighth year, is set to enhance local outdoor spaces with over $300,000 in grants recommended for trail projects in Madison and Morristown, as presented by the Trail Construction Grant Advisory Committee.

MORRISTOWN, NJ – The Morris County Board of County Commissioners is poised to make significant strides in local recreational development, with a recommendation to fund two key trail projects in Madison and Morristown, totaling over $300,000. This initiative marks the eighth successful year of the Morris County Trail Construction Grant Program, a testament to the county's commitment to enhancing outdoor amenities for residents.

During a public work session in Morristown, Betty Cass-Schmidt, Chairwoman of the Trail Construction Grant Advisory Committee, presented the 2023 grant recommendations. These include a $169,203 grant for the Madison project and a $134,838 grant for the Morristown project, both aimed at improving local access to outdoor recreational facilities.

The Borough of Madison received a 2018 Trail Construction Grant of $130,540 for the construction of Madison Recreation Center Accessible Trail. OSRHP Councilmember George Limbach, a happy trail user, Madison Borough Councilmember Rachel Ehrlich, Mayor Bob Conley, Commissioner Stephen Shaw and Melissa Honohan, Chair of the Madison OSRHP, cut the ribbon for the new ADA-compliant trail on June 3, 2023, National Trails Day.

The Madison initiative plans to construct a 0.6-mile gravel trail with a boardwalk at Memorial Park, creating vital connections to Main Street businesses and recreational amenities. In Morristown, the proposed Budd Street Pedestrian Trail will span 0.26 miles, linking existing sidewalks along Budd Street and Miller Street at Budd Street Park to nearby playgrounds, basketball courts, and ball fields.

Since the inception of the program, the Commissioners have approved 46 grants recommended by the committee, resulting in nearly 27 miles of new trails. The program's success is evident in the growing network of trails throughout Morris County, offering residents enhanced opportunities for exercise, recreation, and relaxation in local green spaces.

Commissioner Stephen Shaw, the board liaison to Morris County’s Office of Planning and Preservation, emphasized the program's popularity and its role in improving the quality of life in Morris County. He highlighted the diverse range of trails funded, from extensive hiking paths to enhancements in local parks and greenways.

Denville’s Den Brook Trail, which received Trail Construction Grants of $95,656 in 2019 and $220,220 in 2021 for Phase 1 and Phase 2 improvements, respectively.

Cass-Schmidt noted the program's momentum, with increasing participation from municipalities each year and a flexible application process catering to different local needs and financial structures. This approach has led to the development of higher-quality trails, benefiting residents across the county.

The funding for these trail projects comes from the Morris County Preservation Trust Fund, established in 1992 and modified in 2002 and 2014 to include trail development. If the County Commissioners approve the recommended projects, the county will have allocated nearly $5 million towards establishing over 27 miles of trails since the program's inception in 2016.

The Trail Construction Grant Program aims to enhance the quality of life for Morris County residents by providing recreational trail opportunities. Eligible applicants include any of the thirty-nine municipalities in the county, with permissible uses ranging from new trail construction for both motorized and non-motorized uses to trail enhancements for increased usage and ADA compliance.

For more detailed information about the program, residents and interested parties are encouraged to visit the Morris County Trail Construction Grant Program website.

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