JACKSON – The obstacle of a third party seeking to purchase the historical Rova Farms property is no longer an issue, according to Council President Robert Nixon.
Mayor Michael Reina had noted during a recent mayor’s forum that a third party had entered the picture of a planned purchase by the township of the Rova Farms property that the township sought to have as open space land.
Council President Nixon said that this is no longer the case and that there is no third party involved and that the township is looking at securing the land through eminent domain. “It will not be developed and we are very close to closing and no price is set,” Nixon said during a May 14 council meeting.
Last month a contract of sale had begun to circulate but had not been signed before the third party issue had come about.
At that time, business administrator Terence Wall said that once the contract was signed, officials would be able to release additional details of the cost of purchasing the land.
The vacant property is 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 dated 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.
Thousands of Russian immigrants raised the money for its purchase according to Councilman Alexander Sauickie.
“There is a tremendous amount of history there,” Sauickie said of the 34-plus acre property.
Nixon said that he received a complimentary letter from the church leader of St. Vladimir which is one of the township’s two Russian Orthodox churches. Nixon said the priest had thanked the township in how it was handling the purchase of the property which borders its own property.
Sauickie said previously that at one time around 7,000 Russian Orthodox residents lived within a 20-mile radius of the property. “I am happy see it go forward.”
Nixon noted that the purchase would preserve the environmentally sensitive site from development and would “benefit the entire community for the rest of our history and to preserve it.”
An abandoned tavern which hosted musical groups including singer Bruce Springsteen in the 1970s remains on the Rova Farms site.
Mayor Reina has said that the property has been condemned and will be razed following the township’s purchase of the land.
In other news, the governing body honored the Jackson Liberty High School Bowling team for its recent state championship.
Council members also passed an ordinance amending and supplementing a measure to establish a 30 mile-per-hour speed limit along New Central Avenue from South Cooks Bridge Road to North Hope Chapel Road.
“It was a suggestion by our engineering department that it should be 30 miles per hour. We are constantly reviewing traffic safety and our roads and it came up in our analysis and the time came up,” Nixon said.
Also approved was an ordinance to vacate all of the right, title and interest of the township in a portion of Madden and Edison avenues and a 15-foot alleyway.