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Open Space, Recreation, Farmland
and Historic Preservation Trust Fund

The Somerset County Board of Chosen Freeholders established the Somerset County Open Space, Recreation, Farmland and Historic Preservation Trust Fund to further the preservation of farmland, open space and historic resources in Somerset County. Potential purchases and grants are discussed and recommended to the Freeholders by the appropriate boards, commissions or committees (e.g., County Open Space Advisory Committee, County Park Commission, County Agriculture Development Board, County Planning Board and Cultural and Heritage Commission) and are then discussed and voted on in public by the Board of Chosen Freeholders.

Open Space Preservation Program

The creation of the County Open Space, Recreation and Farmland Trust Fund was approved by voters on November 7, 1989. The Board of Chosen Freeholders created the bi-partisan Open Space Advisory Committee in 1991 to assist the Freeholders with Open Space Master Planning and acquisition initiatives. The Park Recreation and Open Space Master Plan, adopted in 1994, reaffirmed a goal of 10,500 acres to be acquired for the County Park System. The County re-examined its acquisition goals and in 2000 completed the Parks Recreation and Open Space Master Plan Update which recommends increasing the goal from 10,500 acres to 20,500 acres. Somerset County and Park Commission staffs administers the Program with an inventory that currently exceeds 14,000 acres. For more information, contact Thomas Boccino at (908) 231-7509 or

Open Space Partnership

The County/Municipal Open Space Partnership Grant Program was established in 1995 to assist municipalities in the acquisition of open space, which would advance local preservation efforts. Since the programís inception, nearly $14 million dollars has been awarded through the Partnership to help preserve 3,240 acres of open space. The grant program is only open to municipal governments in Somerset County. County Planning Board staff administers the program, which operates as a competitive grant process on an annual basis. The County Planning Board, Park Commission and Open Space Advisory Committee review applications based on a number of criteria and recommend awards to the Board of Chosen Freeholders.


North Branch Greenway Ė Preserved Open Space

Farmland Preservation

The Farmland Preservation Program was created by the Board of Chosen Freeholders in 1983 in response to State Enabling Legislation, PL1983, Chapters 32 & 33 that was passed the same year. The Somerset County Agriculture Development Board leads the preservation program, with staff assistance from the County Planning Board. The programís principal objective is to create critical masses of preserved farmland to stabilize the loss of our agricultural land base. Since the program's inception, the County has preserved 86 farms totally over 8,100 acres. The Agriculture Development Board serves as advisor, monitor, mediator and approval body to farmers, county and municipal government agencies and the general public in all matters relating to agricultural development and retention.

Use the link below to download and save a copy of the new County Planning Incentive Grant Easement Purchase Application For An Individual Farm. Please complete the form electronically and email it to Tara Kenyon at There is no deadline for these applications, as it is a revolving annual application process. For more information, contact Ms. Kenyon at (908) 231-7021 or via email.




Preparing Preserved Farmland for Planting

Historic Preservation

The Historic Preservation Grant Program is administered by the Somerset County Cultural and Heritage Commission with assistance from County Planning Board staff. Eligible applicants for funds from the program are Somerset County government, municipal governments within Somerset County and non-profit organizations as defined under Section 501(c)(3) of the Federal Internal Revenue Code of 1986 whose purpose includes historic preservation. Eligible property criteria include historic sites, which are listed or certified as eligible to be listed on the New Jersey Register of Historic Places or contribute to a historic district listed on the New Jersey Register. Acceptable activities include the acquisition, stabilization, rehabilitation, restoration and/or the preservation of a historic site, as well as plans and reports related to the implementation of a historic preservation project, National Register of Historic Places nominations and required project signs.

Hageman Horse Barn, Franklin Township


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