Deal reached after Open Space Institute negotiated $65 million purchase rights for nearly nine miles of former rail line and galvanized private fundraising effort.
After years of direct negotiation that led to a $65 million purchase agreement between OSI and Norfolk Southern Railway, Governor Phil Murphy announced on November 12, 2021 that the state of New Jersey would acquire the 135-acre property to create a new Greenway. The deal marks the single largest state-funded land protection project in New Jersey history.
The newly announced Greenway project will span one of the world’s most populated regions – located just across the Hudson River from Manhattan. It will create easy and equitable access to nature for millions of New Jersey residents; provide alternative transportation options; introduce green infrastructure to improve water quality; and spur economic activity.
OSI assembled private funding to invest $3.9 million in the project to date. Major support for OSI’s efforts has been provided by the Thomas L. Kempner Jr. Foundation. Additional generous support came from the Helen & William Mazer Foundation, Partners for Health Foundation, and individual donors.
West Orange recently received formal acceptance into the AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities and the World Health Organization Global Network for Age-Friendly Cities and Communities. This prestigious award reaffirms the Township’s commitment to an age-friendly community, which benefits residents of all ages.
The age-friendly movement, launched by the World Health Organization in 2005, continues to spread across the globe. The guiding principle is creating local solutions to help meet the global challenges of our aging population. Age-friendly communities are inclusive and benefit from diverse citizen engagement to identify and address the needs of the community.
West Orange is only the 13th New Jersey community to receive this honor and the 466th in the United States to be awarded Age-Friendly certification.
To recognize West Orange’s age-friendly initiatives and commitment to senior livability, the Township created the distinctive age-friendly logo, pictured below. The tree, symbolic of growth, strength, and beauty is encased in an incandescent light bulb, an homage to Thomas Edison, the West Orange genius inventor.
“This is exciting news for West Orange and it underscores the Township’s commitment to meet the challenges of an aging population”, stated Dorothy Sanders, Senior Livability Coordinator. “Age-friendly initiatives benefit an entire community, not just older adults. We remain grateful to the Partners for Health Foundation for their incredible support of our age-friendly initiatives”, added Theresa M. De Nova, Health Officer .
By the year 2030, New Jersey’s over-60 population is projected to represent 25% of the state’s population.
A new self-guided walking and biking tour booklet that highlights some of Montclair’s historic districts is now available through the Montclair History Center. The booklet includes six self-guided tours, five of which are less than 2 miles and can easily be accomplished on foot. A tour of the Montclair Art Colony’s studios and homes is a longer (8 miles) biking tour. The booklet was made possible through a grant from Partners for Health Foundation.
“The guided walking tours we conduct are some of our more popular programs,” says Jane Eliasof, Executive Director of the Montclair History Center. “We’ll continue to lead guided tours throughout different communities in town, plus cemetery tours of Rosedale and Mount Hebron, and our food and history walking tour that takes you through downtown Montclair talking about our history and sampling some of the restaurants’ foods.”
The booklet is an adaptation of those guided walking tours, but it allows people to go at their own pace at a time that is most convenient to them. The six tours were designed as a result of a survey the Montclair History Center fielded earlier this year. According to the survey, most people wanted tours that were between one and two miles long. The tour locations — Montclair Town Center, Watchung Plaza Historic District, South Mountain Estate Section, Upper Montclair Historic District, the Pine Street Historic District, and the Montclair Art Colony – were based on the top six choices in the survey. In the future, the Montclair History Center hopes to add more self-guided walking tours of other areas of Montclair.
In the survey, the Montclair Art Colony was the most requested tour. As a result of the overwhelming interest in this tour, the Montclair History Center, in partnership with BikeWalk Montclair and the Montclair Art Museum, will lead a guided biking tour going past the artists’ studios and homes on November 3 at XX am. Interested bikers can register at www.montclairhistory.org.
“Our guided tours are more in-depth than these self-guided tours,” explains Eliasof. “However, these self-guided tours give people who can’t or won’t attend a guided tour a great overview of the history of Montclair through its people and its architecture.
The booklet is available in printed form and electronically on the Montclair History Center’s website www.montclairhistory.org.