Township looking to buy 57 acres

East windsor Township Council introduced ordinances that would allow the township to spend $1.17 million to buy land across from Etra Lake Park.

By: Lauren Burgoon
   EAST WINDSOR — The township’s stock of open space is expected to increase by 57 acres as plans move forward to acquire land on Disbrow Hill Road.
   The Township Committee unanimously voted Tuesday to introduce two related ordinances that would authorize the purchase of the land and approve funds for the transaction.
   "This is a very desirable piece of land," Mayor Janice Mironov on Wednesday. "It has been a target on the open space plan for some time."
   The proposed ordinance authorizes the purchase of the 57-acre tract across from Etra Lake Park for $1.14 million from Martin and Rose Gerber and from the living trust fund of John and Amelia Bielski.
   A second ordinance proposes to allow the township to spend a total of $1.17 million on the transaction. Mayor Mironov said the $30,000 difference is for related expenses, such as site assessments and closing costs.
   Most of that money would come from grants. East Windsor secured a $585,000 grant from the New Jersey Green Acres Program and $186,000 from Mercer County. The remaining $399,000 would come from the East Windsor Open Space Fund, which comes from contributions by developers, Mayor Mironov said.
   An additional $15,000 from both the state grant and township fund would pay for the related expenses under the ordinances. The mayor told the Township Committee that the funding is in place and the acquisition will be a cash deal. She said the sale should be completed within a few months if the ordinance is approved.
   Mayor Mironov said the parcel has a rural character that is important to the town. She noted that the proximity to Etra Lake Park is advantageous if the township ever wants to make the property a recreational area. But for now the first step is acquire the land, she said.
   The mayor also remarked that the timing of the sale was key in what was expected to be a sought-after site.
   "If East Windsor does not buy the land, it is highly likely it will be developed," she said. The property’s draw was one reason East Windsor decided to move ahead on this acquisition rather than pursue other sites earmarked by the open space program, she added.
   The Township Committee will hold a public hearing on the two ordinances at 8 p.m. March 3 at the municipal building.