A home of their own

| 05 Apr 2012 | 12:07

WEST MILFORD — The Greenwood Lake Commission has been looking for a permanent home for years. They may have found one in a small log cabin located in West Milford and surrounded by 48 acres of forested land that is owned by the Passaic River Coalition. The commission is requesting $55,000 from the state's Green Acres fund to help them buy the privately owned cabin, that was built in 1930 and whose price is $100,000.

"This is a very small log cabin," said Ella Filippone, a member of the bi-state commission and the New Jersey chairperson. "It has two bedrooms, a living room, kitchenette and a bathroom. It would be adequate for our office."

The commission is holding a public hearing regarding the purchase of the cabin on Wednesday, April 11, at 7:30 p.m. in the West Milford Township Hall.

Currently, the commission rents space in an office building in the village of Greenwood Lake for about $1,000 per month, according to Filippone, and the state of New Jersey wants them to move. They are looking for a different location temporarily until they finalize a permanent arrangement.

Fixer upper The cabin sits on about a quarter acre of property between the Moosehead and Small Craft Marinas on Greenwood Lake at 261 Lakeside Road. It was once part of the 48-acre forested property that the Passaic River Coalition purchased. Filippone, who also serves as the executive director of the coalition, said they weren't interested in buying the cabin when the land purchase was made. The coalition paid $400,000 for the land.

Filippone said the coalition only wanted the land, which she called "a special place." She said the trees on the property are 100 years old and huge.

"It's a special place," said Filippone. "You have to bend over backwards to see the tops of the trees. Lands we buy have special environmental components."

The cabin is built of cedar, something not found often, Filippone said. But it does need much work. She said the cabin needs a new roof, painting inside and some new windows. Some of that work, she hopes, will come from volunteers.

"It needs a little loving care," she said.

Giving the Greenwood Lake Commission a home of its own after 11 years in existence would be beneficial to all involved, Filippone said.

"We need a home, we need a place where we can have people come see us and have meetings," she said. "We don't want a palace. We want a little cabin, an identity to the public."

Requesting grants In addition to seeking Green Acres funding from the state of New Jersey, Filippone said they are looking for other grants and donations to come up with the purchase price. The commission will soon be charging a user fee to all who launch boats on the lake, which could also go toward the funding.

The commission will need a use variance from the township to use the cabin as its office, Filippone said.

Looking for support For now, Filippone said she is hoping to get support from the public at the hearing next Wednesday for this purchase. The minutes of the meeting will be sent to Green Acres as part of the grant application.

"We want to show the state of New Jersey the real support we have for this beautiful lake," said Filippone. "Trenton hasn't got a clue what Greenwood Lake is. People have to see the lake, take a ride on the lake, to appreciate it. Talking about a lake down in Trenton is meaningless. Greenwood Lake is one of the greatest assets to New Jersey."

The Greenwood Lake Commission is a bi-state commission that was formed in 2001 for the purpose of improving the water quality of Greenwood Lake. Their mission is to serve as a bi-state cooperative effort to help ensure that the natural, scenic, economic, and recreational resources of Greenwood Lake and its watershed are protected. Greenwood Lake supplies over three million residents and thousands of businesses with water.