Jackson Council Completes Rova Farms Purchase

An abandoned nightclub which once featured such entertainment as singer Bruce Springsteen in the early 1970s, is seen on the parcel of Rova Farm property that the township is purchasing for preservation purposes. (Photo by Bob Vosseller)
An abandoned nightclub which once featured such entertainment as singer Bruce Springsteen in the early 1970s, is seen on the parcel of Rova Farm property that the township is purchasing for preservation purposes. (Photo by Bob Vosseller)

JACKSON – With the obstacle of a third party gone, the governing body was able to recently close on the purchase of the historic Rova Farms property.

A few months ago, Mayor Michael Reina said that a third party had entered the picture of the planned purchase by the township of the Rova Farms property that the township sought to have as open space land.

“It is exciting news for Jackson. Not only are we preserving a historic piece of land that is important to residents but it is an opportunity to preserve open space for this pristine property,” Council President Robert Nixon said following a June 25 council meeting.

Township Business Administrator Terence Wall confirmed earlier this month that the cost for the land was $600,000 and that the closing took place.

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Earlier this year council members first expressed their enthusiasm about the planned purchase of the property located in the Cassville section of Jackson.

They recalled their own memories of the landmark property which featured a tavern that featured entertainment including a visit by Bruce Springsteen and his band on a December night in the 1970s.

A contract of sale had begun to circulate but had not been signed before a third-party issue had come about causing a delay in the process. Mayor Reina had said that employing eminent domain to secure the land and save it from any potential development would be considered if necessary.

The vacant property is now environmentally constrained and a large portion of the parcel is in a recreational open space zone.

Nixon previously stated that Rova Farms has a rich history in Jackson that dates back to the early 20th century and involved early Russian immigrants who purchased around 1,400 acres of it in the early 1930s for $50,000.

“There is a tremendous amount of history there, I am happy to see the purchase go forward,” Councilman Alexander Sauickie said of the 34-plus acre property. He noted that originally, thousands of Russian immigrants raised the money for its purchase.

Nixon said that he received a complimentary letter from a priest from St. Vladimir Church which is one of the township’s two Russian Orthodox churches. Nixon said the church had thanked the township for the way it was handling the purchase of the property which borders its own property.

Mayor Reina and Nixon stated that the tavern site had been condemned and would be razed.

Reina had noted that the wooded area which also includes access to a waterfront area would allow for recreational use by residents.

“We have a lot of work to do. We will be taking down the building on the property and taking a look at the long range facilities plan seeing where it will have open fields or parks and patio settings,” Nixon said.