On My Mind…Camp Sussex…An Opportunity to Beautify Being Protested By Group of Local Residents
I am puzzled by this…but I shouldn’t be…because it’s honestly not surprising.
In Vernon Township, there is an opposition that likes to raise Cain about any breath the mayor takes. Granted, not every resident is going to agree with a member of the council, and not every member of the council is going to agree with every resident…
…But we should all try to work together, shouldn’t we?
Not in Vernon Township…and in the end, it always is a small group with an agenda that hurts the taxpayers with their antics.
Point in case, Camp Sussex. Camp Sussex has been thought an eyesore and an issue in Vernon for many years. Vandalism has been an issue, documented as well by articles for a number of years. Not to mention, the place has become a suspected haven for those who are simply squatting there and others, adding to our drug problem in the county by using the property to shoot heroin (this is suspected with “heroin” painted on the walls and also needles discarded there).
So, now there is a chance to beautify the property, through the Open Space fund. The township will plan to go forward to purchase 88 acres. There is approximately $1 million still in the Open Space Fund to date. The town plans to purchase the property and the Environmental Committee will plant 1,200 trees through a grant of $354,990 (another not costing the township anything). Outside of maintenance costs in the future, the residents will not have to pay a dime for beautification through taxpayer funds. It is expected that price tag for purchase will cost the township potentially half of their open space funds.
Additionally, the State’s Green Acres Program will give the township about $140,000 towards the purchase price, in essence, lowering the potential Open Space Fund spending to approximately $360,000.
However, five residents are urging township residents to sign a petition to create an ordinance to bar the acquisition of the land. They claim there is not enough information and it will wipe out the Open Space fund.
If there’s not enough information on the topic, how do they even know that??? They don’t.
Let me shed what’s on my mind with this topic…
So in other words, let’s keep our feet in the same place they are, which is quicksand. Camp Sussex is an eyesore, a suspected drug haven, and potential threat to public safety as it is now. Of course, God knows, there is no drug or heroin problem in this country already, right? This camp is the elephant in the living room for some that they don’t want to talk about and would rather let this problem fester because of their arrogance. Instead, they’ll purposely leave a section of the township unsafe, and tax police resources to deal with squatters and drug addicts. It’s hidden anyway within the environs of Camp Sussex where we can’t see it so it’s not a problem, right? What happens if someone overdoses there? Who’s responsible? Could the blood of a potential child who might overdose there be on the hands of the idiocy that is trying to stop this purchase and misinform the public? Could one of the Vernon Township Police Department Officers have their life put further in danger when having to tend to a situation there? Could residents surrounding the camp have problems in the future such as a break-in or worse?
What if we ask, since I am not a Vernon resident, if this will bleed out, not only beyond the Camp Sussex environs (yes, it’s contained now, but eventually it will), into surrounding municipalities? That Vernon will get a growing reputation of having a spot where drug trafficking is taking place, and other bad apples, will make their way to the place, not only from municipalities in this county where this type of activity might be sought, but additionally, maybe those from New York State may cross into Vernon to also engage in those said activities. So, not only could Vernon get a bad rap because you’re trying to block the township from acquiring something that will be turned into something positive, because you don’t like the mayor, but the whole county and area will eventually suffer.
As a parent (and I know there are some parents in this opposition clique), thanks, thanks an awful lot for being a part of the potential degradation of Vernon and Sussex County by looking to keep Camp Sussex the suspected drug and squatter haven that it is and delay positive movement of it.
What’s on my mind? This is a lot of grandstanding by a group of citizens who simply are against the mayor and who appear to want to thwart positive efforts than do something nice for the town…why are Open Space funds there? To use! And in terms of expenses (which will be racked up with this foolishness as usual that this group creates because their actions always lead to court), these can potentially be controlled by community efforts. Look at how the Vernon Dog Park came together with sponsors and has been able to maintain the park with fundraisers and the group that runs it, simply looking after it…they’ve organized their own 501C3 to maintain it. Look at how the fire museum in Newton is coming for rehabilitation through fundraising and other efforts. There could definitely be in-kind efforts from local businesses and others who would like to help see improvements in the town.
In my opinion as well, why is Councilwoman Murphy even commenting on or participating in votes with topics like real estate, when she is a realtor? Isn’t that a conflict of interest? She has to know as a realtor that Camp Sussex as it currently is, is likely lowering property values around the area. Why did she vote against this?
There are likely other creative solutions that can be devised in terms of costs for this property, cleanup and more, that can make this happen and make Camp Sussex, a place for residents of Vernon and beyond, to enjoy.
As a resident of Sussex County who cares about Vernon Township and its future, I am urging you not to sign the petition against the movement for the township to purchase Camp Sussex.
What do you think? (all opinions are welcome including those who are signing this petition…though I will warn, I do not publish derogatory or defamatory statements).
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You hit the nail right on the head. I happen to live in proximity to the camp and have always regretted that it sits there vacant. I applaud the minds that can envision the potential of this incredibly beautiful site and pray that it becomes Vernon’s crowned jewel providing happy memories for generations to come.
Sadly, obstructionists prey on the general public with fear mongering and it is usually effective enough to get a signature. Let’s hope the general population joins together to marginalize this small group!
Question is do you have to buy it to clean it up? I think the volunteers who feel so strongly should have a clean up date and clean up the ground like the environmental group clean our streams and creeks etc. maybe the town can cut the grass and tear the buildings down and put a lean on the property. I don’t think the Town needs to own it to help our community.
Hi Pat, good question, and I can find out more information.
As I see it (and I will find out more for you) in the other communities that I’ve reported stories on…there have been issues with responsibility of keeping abandoned properties clean, especially bank owned, and they’ve become hazardous. Additionally the case, with absentee landlords. And it’s really not appropriate for the town or the residents to be cleaning up a property that is not their own. That’s why I feel it’s best to go in the town’s hands as the most ideal candidate…and as pointed out, there are ways for the town to purchase it, and grants to offset the cost of even the open space funds (which are there for the town’s use, so why not use them?), that will not use taxpayer money. In the long run, we know that Vernon Township, like all the municipalities around, has the DPW’s, which do an exemplary job of maintaining parks around the communities…I think this will only better the community for this to be in the town’s hands…again, I will find out for you from someone who can tell you more.
Thanks for commenting!!