Tightening purse strings in tough times, Mayor Michele Dale and the Township of West Milford Council have put the state of New Jersey on notice that township taxpayers will no longer pay the bill to maintain state-owned Brown’s Point Park on the shores of Greenwood Lake.
In taking action to end a long existing lease with the state, the local officials implored leaders in Trenton to allocate sufficient resources to properly maintain Brown’s Point. They asked that the appropriate individuals within the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection be advised of the council’s action to close the purse that spends township money on the state-owned property every year.
A copy of a resolution adopted recently by the Township Council has been sent to Governor Phil Murphy, the Greenwood Lake Commission and local representatives of the State Legislature.
Brown’s Point is the only piece of public land on the lake shore on the New Jersey side of the bi-state lake. The resolution points out that recreation at the public park is available and enjoyed at no cost to the many people who go there from outside of West Milford.
‘Unfair burden to West Milford taxpayers’
Back on Jan. 3, 1980, the local governing board entered into a lease with the state that allowed the municipality of West Milford to utilize and maintain Brown’s Point. For the past 40 years, in accord with that agreement, the West Milford taxpayers have shouldered the financial burden of maintaining the park.
“Local property taxes should not be utilized to maintain state-owned property,” stated the council’s resolution. “The township has consulted with its representatives on the Greenwood Lake Commission concerning this resolution. Therefore it is resolved that Mayor Michele Dale and the Township Council cancel its lease with the State at Brown’s Point.”
In asking Council support in her successful request to have the resolution put on the agenda for action Councilwoman Marilyn Lichtenberg said it is unfair to continue to burden the West Milford taxpayers with costs to maintain a public park that is open free of charge to everyone from anywhere.
Brown’s Hotel - home to fighters, wrestlers and vacationers
Councilman Michael Chazukow, along with the rest of the township council members, supported Lichtenberg’s request for action, but he did have concerns about the future of the existing popular miniature golf course with its small baskets and designed course that is now there.
Chazukow pointed out that the sport got its start at Brown’s Point with the first known championship competition recorded in its history occurring there. No problem was seen with the ability for leaders of the sport to apply for state permission to have the sport there if that action was found necessary.
During discussion it was brought out that last year New Jersey officials discussed having a launch site for paddle boats such as kayaks at Brown’s Point. The council did not visualize that paddle boat activity, if the state moves ahead to establish it, would conflict with the miniature golf course.
The name of the park originates from Brown’s Hotel, where fighters trained and wrestlers entertained at the last of three hotels on the site that was destroyed by a raging winter fire in the 1950s. It had replaced two smaller hotels on the site dating back to the days of train travel to be lake by vacationers from New York City and elsewhere.