The Land Conservancy of New Jersey moves one step closer to completing Phase II of its Truman Field Expansion project in Oakland Borough. The project was started in Oakland, where homes damaged by flooding from Hurricane Irene were bought with the intention of creating a continuous buffer for the adjoining Truman Field Park, as well as providing flood mitigation in the immediate area. This property marks the successful closing of a 0.288 acre lot from the estate of Adele DeVries in late April, with the purchase price paid through a 75% grant from Bergen County and the remaining 25% coming from The Land Conservancy of New Jersey’s Green Acres account. The house will be demolished and the land parcel will become new parkland.
This closing is part of a larger project to expand Truman Field Park and permanently remove flooded homes from harm’s way. Beginning in 2015, Phase I of this project saw six homes purchased, and the DeVries estate is the third home to close as a part of Phase II of this project. To date, eight homes have been demolished and the parcels have been seeded. The Borough is exploring many different potential uses for this new park, including river access for fishing, a walking path, native vegetation, or rain gardens. The Truman Field Expansion Project is jointly funded by the 2014 Bergen County Floodplain Protection Program Grant Program, The Land Conservancy of New Jersey’s Non-Profit Green Acres Planning Incentive grant, along with Oakland Borough’s Green Acres Planning Incentive Grant and its Municipal Open Space Trust Fund. “We are very pleased that the Truman Field Expansion has been moving forward smoothly and that Oakland Borough residents will soon be able to enjoy expanded parklands, which could include passive recreation and fishing sites. We feel very positive about transforming this site, and are confident this new parkland will enhance quality of life for the surrounding community instead of falling into disuse,” said Aaron Cela, Land Preservation Specialist at The Land Conservancy of New Jersey.
The DeVries property is the ninth of twelve homes to be acquired during Phase I and II of the expansion project, with eight demolished so far. After all the homes are preserved and demolished, about 2 acres will be added to the Borough’s open space.
Photos: The flooded property after the park expansion