JACKSON – Work to clean up the Rova Farms property was delayed due to the coronavirus but is getting back on track, a township official said.
The property was purchased for preservation in 2019. It once featured a popular tavern where performers like Bruce Springsteen entertained large audiences. The demolition of that building is part of the project.
During a recent Township Council meeting, Councilman Alex Sauickie highlighted a resolution about the land preservation. He noted that the pandemic slowed down work on some projects.
“One of those projects was construction work at Rova Farms. I am glad to see that we are moving forward toward what needs to happen for Rova Farms to become what we expect it will be,” Sauickie said.
Business Administrator Terence Wall told The Jackson Times that the familiar site will soon be vanishing from the landscape of the Rova Farms property. “The building is in the stages of our engineer preparing for demolition.”
“The environmental side of that is underway and should be done shortly and we’ll go out to bid soon after in relation to the demolition,” Wall added.
“It is still there at the moment. It was a very interesting place. The property really is a gem in Jackson Township,” Wall said. He added that other debris and structures on the property need to be cleared.
“There are also related items of debris. The site needs to be appropriately cleared and different options presented to the governing body as far as what is consistent with the open space and recreation pack.”
Wall noted that the property includes “a wonderful amenity in the lake area. There are trails and we have been in communication with the schools in terms of being part of the process and the children having a sense of the property and learning about it as we move along to a planning process.”
Rova Farms beauty and potential as a public recreation spot and site for preservation also includes its rich history. That history includes a visit by The Boss, singer/performer Bruce Spingsteen on Dec. 23, 1973. The young singer appeared at what was then the Rova Farm Resort on Route 571 Trenton Road. The admission fee was only $5 and included all the beer you could drink.
That performance was a memorable one for the singer. He referenced his Rova Farm Resort visit in his memoir “Born to Run.” Springsteen recalled that the only full-scale bar brawl he and his band have ever experienced happened in Rova Farms which he described as a “Russian social club on the outskirts of town.”
Oddly enough, the brawl began right before the band sang the popular holiday song, “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.”
The governing body purchased the Rova Farm site at 120 Cassville Road in 2019. The pristine environmental area is now preserved and earmarked for open space purposes.
The land’s history dates back to the early 20th century and involved early Russian immigrants who bought up 1,400 acres of it in the early 1930s for $50,000.
The money for its purchase was gathered up by thousands of Russians who immigrated to the United States, according to Councilman Alexander Sauickie. The township has two Russian Orthodox churches that were constructed around that time. Children learned the Russian language as one means of preserving their heritage.
Sauickie noted, “we know the property simply and affectionately as Rova Farms. There is a tremendous amount of history there.” He added, 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.”
“It is historic, it is in a great location. It has a lake adjacent to it and what we can do with it for the future of the town I think is a great thing,” Sauickie said.