MIDDLESEX COUNTY – The Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders entered into an agreement to purchase for preservation 9.74 acres of environmentally sensitive land in South Plainfield at its meeting last night.
The freeholders authorized an agreement to purchase the land, known as the Adams Farm, from A. Ferraro Construction LLC, which was under contract to purchase land from its original owner and had preliminary approvals for 16 residential lots. The agreed upon price is $2,450,000, based on three appraisals.
The land is located within the environmentally sensitive Dismal Swamp, a significant natural area that is home to wildlife and many species of plants. Preserving it would provide flood protection and public access to the area.
“I am very excited to announce this agreement because of the environmental importance of the Adams Farm and surrounding Dismal Swamp,” said Freeholder Carol Barrett, chair of the county’s Engineering and Planning Committee and liaison to the County Open Space Committee. “The Dismal Swamp is a true ecological gem in the middle of the county and we must work to ensure it stays that way forever.”
Under the agreement, the land’s original owner, Charles Adams, will be able to retain occupancy of his home on the property and about 12,500 square feet of land for the rest of his life through a lease arrangement. He will be responsible for all utilities, insurance, real estate taxes and repair and maintenance on the property. The lease will terminate, and the land be reverted to the county, upon Adams’ death.
The Adams Farm is one of three properties within the Dismal Swamp in danger of being developed that the county is pursuing for preservation purposes.
The Mayor and Borough Council of South Plainfield and the NY-NJ Baykeeper brought the land to the county’s attention.
This purchase has the full support of South Plainfield and the Baykeeper, an environmentalist organization, which is helping the county identify outside funding for the purchase.