23 Aug 2014
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Officials Meet in Trenton for Bancroft Bucks

Open-space funds are sought.

Officials Meet in Trenton for Bancroft Bucks Officials Meet in Trenton for Bancroft Bucks

Borough Administrator Sharon McCullough met in Trenton on Tuesday with state officials to plot the next step in securing open-space grant money for the Bancroft public purchase.

McCullough said she and appraiser, Harry Renwick, opened talks on how to plot the amount of open-space that will be part of the 19-acre Bancroft purchase. Renwick will need to do additional work on the appraisal for which the school board hired him. 

Borough officials have said they have at least $3.5 million in open-space grants and tax funds for the $16 million Bancroft purchase. But the borough will need to submit a detailed appraisal to the state outlining exactly where the open-space will be on the property, McCullough said.

The Haddonfield BOE and the borough have agreed to buy the property for $12.2 million, part of a $12.5 million purchase and development bond referendum on the ballot in January. Plans include the construction of a new artificial-turf field, securing land for future school development and carving out nature trails on open space. The land is adjacent to Haddonfield Memorial High School on Kings Highway East.

Renwick's BOE appraisal values the property at $15.1 million, nearly twice the $8 million value of a 2005 appraisal.

Board President Steve Weinstein said the increase in value of the property was justified because of a difference in zoning of the property now than in 2005, and a higher demand for institutional property acquisition and development. The 2005 appraisal limited the use to half-acre lots and a limited number of houses.

Last week, the board slashed $4.3 million off of a $16.8 million purchase and development plan rolled out over the summer. The cuts were made possible by the $3.5 million in open-space money and by eliminating $800,000 to install artificial turf at the high school football stadium.

The field will be paid for by a public-private partnership. Local residents raised $600,000 toward the $1 million cost of the high-school field resurfacing and the installation of turf on an adjacent field owned by the borough. The borough and BOE will pay the difference.

McCullough said a third appraisal will be needed to secure Camden County open space money, but Renwick may be barred legally from doing it. The county money, up to $1.6 million is part of the $3.5 million total in open-space money.

Renwick's fee for the appraisals were not immediately reported.

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