Nearly a year after council reached an agreement to purchase the Dutch Colonial Naugle House and its surrounding property on Dunkerhook Road for $1.7 million from developer David Neidani, the deal is finally done.
The borough closed on the house on Oct. 5, and made the announcement at Tuesday’s council meeting. It has been trying to find a way to preserve the property for the past six-plus years.
“Sometimes government moves slowly, “ Councilman Ed Trawinski said at Tuesday's meeting, “but in Fair Lawn, moving slowly, we move successfully.”
Deputy Mayor Joe Tedeschi applauded the purchase, calling it "no easy task."
“For years people said this council didn’t care, this council wasn’t worried about it, and it very quietly continued its job and finally got it done," he said.
Deputy Mayor Steve Weinstein, chair of the Open Space Committee, thanked the borough attorney, open space consultant Mike Hakim, the Open Space Committee, borough managers past and present, the Fair Lawn community and the Naugle kids for all of their hard work in helping the borough acquire the historic property.
“The [Naugle Kids] probably are in high school now and getting read for college,” Weinstein said of the fourth-graders who came before council to plead for the property’s preservation in 2005, “but it’s been a major accomplishment for Fair Lawn. We’ve done it.”
Trawinski said that the borough council’s task was only half done, however.
“Now that we’ve acquired [the Naugle property] we have to work with our Historic Preservation Committee to not only rehabilitate it to its historic status, but then figure out how to make it cost-effective for the taxpayers of Fair Lawn, so that it remains affordable,” he said. “Everybody wants to save historic sites, very few people ever come up with plans as to what to do with them.”
The borough funded the Naugle property’s purchase through $1.6 million in county open space and state Green Acres grants, and revenue from the Open Space Tax Trust Fund.
Mayor Lisa Swain said a ribbon cutting for the Naugle House purchase would be held on Saturday, Oct. 29 at 9 a.m.
For a great historical look at the Naugle House through the years, check out Rebecca Abma's "The Naugle House's Long Road from the Revolution to Restoration."