Victorypark2The house at 38 West River Road, visible from the Victory Park gazebo, has been acquired by Rumson for a park expansion.

Monmouth County has awarded Rumson $250,000 toward its $875,000 purchase of land adjoining Victory Park for a westward expansion of the riverfront facility.

The funding will help advance a burgeoning crew program at the site, Mayor John Ekdahl tells redbankgreen. A rowing club was established at the site last year and this year will host a team from Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High, he says.

“I know some of the dreamers would hope to build a Schuykill River-style boathouse” on the property, which now features a boarded-up house, Ekdahl says. “I don’t see borough funds going for that,” he adds, but with a private fundraising effort, “it’s not out of the question.”

VictoryparkThe house will remain until borough officials decide whether to tear it down.

The $250,000 is the maximum amount available to any town under the county’s municipal Open Space funding program, which annually distributes $2 million for acquisition and development of recreational space.

The borough completed the purchase of the half-acre parcel from West River Road Equities in October. Another $437,500 toward the cost is being sought from the state Green Acres fund. Ekdahl says that funding looks promising because Rumson’s plan advances two Green Acres objectives: expanding existing parkland and preserving waterfront land from commercial development.

The purchase covered about half the property West River Road Equities bought in 2004 for $1.4 million, outbidding Rumson. An easement will provide access to the waterfront, while the portion fronting on the street, which is zoned for commerce, may be developed, Ekdahl says.

According to borough officials, the house will be shored up until a determination is made about whether to keep or raze it. Should the building be torn down, state Coastal Area Facility Review Act regulations would likely prohibit its being replaced, even by a storage shed. But a refurbishment might pass muster with the state, Ekdahl says.

“We view the footprint of that house as probably the most important attribute of the site,” he says.

Here’s a lookup for Green Acres properties on a town-by-town basis.

Here’s a FAQ on the county’s criteria for funding Open Space projects: Download municipal_grant_faq_2008.pdf

And here are the minutes of a Rumson council meeting in September at which the project was discussed: Download CouncilSep0908Minutes.pdf

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