fh-williams-house-061610The Charles Williams house, built in 1855, would be demolished to make way for a pocket park. (Click to enlarge)

A plan by Fair Haven to acquire a riverfront residential property for use as a passive park has gotten snagged in ownership questions, the Asbury Park Press reported Tuesday.

As a result of delays, funding for the proposed purchase of the one-acre parcel at the foot of DeNormandie Avenue is in danger of vanishing, Mayor Mike Halfacre tells the newspaper.

The borough has $587,000 in grants and low-interest loans committed toward the acquisition of the property, provided it closes on the deal by next June. But a tangled web of potential ownership interests has stalled the path to clear title, he said.

From the Press:

But the same title issues with the property persist, which attorneys for the landowners were working on in summer 2010. Resolving the land title would have been the last step before Fair Haven closed on the riverfront property at the end of DeNormandie Avenue and tore down the 152-year-old house on the land.

In 1858, Charlie Williams, a free African-American man, bought the land and built the home that stands on it today. Some of the title issues stem from inter-family transfers of the land over the years that resulted in some mistakes in the title. One issue is that the property is two lots and that one lot wasn’t transferred at the same time title to the other lot was conveyed, Halfacre said.

“It is a wild chain of title (transfers) we’re trying to track down,” he said.

Now Halfacre said he’s concerned whether a June 2012 deadline to use the grants will be met. State and Monmouth County officials have already granted one extension, he said.