Council Paves the Way for Open Space Purchases
On Tuesday night, the Fair Lawn Borough Council passed ordinances for the purchases of the Naugle House and Block 5611 Lot 24.03 on George Street.
The Borough Council passed ordinances to provide for the purchase of the historic Naugle property as well as a George Street tract near the fire department at its meeting Tuesday, approving transactions that add up to more than $2 million.
Fair Lawn, however, won't be picking up the entire bill on either property. For the $1.7 million purchase that will save the 18th-century, Dutch colonial Naugle House from development, the borough is receiving an estimated $600,000 in New Jersey Green Acres funding and an additional $600,000 from the Bergen County Open Space Fund, with the remaining funds coming from Fair Lawn's Open Space Tax Trust Fund.
Regarding the borough's $320,000 purchase of Block 5611 Lot 24.03 on George Street, about half of that total will be paid for by Green Acres funding, Deputy Mayor Steve Weinstein said.
The Naugle House—which made Preservation New Jersey's Top 10 Most Endangered List in 2007—was home to a paymaster of Marquis de Lafayette's troops. Lafayette is said to have visited the home in 1824. In addition to the building's historical roots, the structure boasts unique architecture among the Dutch sandstone houses in the area. Councilman Ed Trawinski said that hopefully, Fair Lawn "will be able to restore that house and find an adaptive reuse for it."
Trawinski also thanked developer David Neidani, who bought the 1.76-acre Naugle tract in 2004 and planned to build townhouses there, but now will sell the land to Fair Lawn—which will turn the property into a passive park with benches, pathways and possibly a bocci court.
"We could not have done this without his cooperation," Trawinski said.
Weinstein called the George Street purchase a "win-win." The property will be the home of a pocket park and much-needed extra space for the fire department, Trawinski said.
"It was a lot of hard work, but it's a great achievement for everyone," Weinstein, co-chair of borough's Open Space Committee, said of the purchase.
Trawinski emphasized that the people of Fair Lawn had the "foresight" to impose an open space tax upon themselves six years ago, meaning the two open space purchases are coming from dollars which residents—not the council—wanted to spend for that purpose. Despite tough economic times, Fair Lawn residents "continue to recognize the value of preserving open space," Trawinski said.
Fair Lawn resident Pamela Coles praised the borough's work on the open space transactions and called the entire process "a community effort."
"To save any amount of open space in Fair Lawn these days is invaluable," Coles said.