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Park Ranger's House May Get Leased to the State

Green Brook eyes residence at Washington Rock Park as a meeting place or visitors center.

Green Brook is interested in acquiring a lease to the former ranger’s house at Washington Rock Park.

Mayor Jerry Searfoss announced at last Monday’s Township Committee meeting that the state has asked if the township is interested in leasing the house next to the park.

The tenant who lived in the house has recently left, he said.

The mayor said the long-term lease would cost as little as $1.

“It will be a great addition to the town,” Searfoss said.

The mayor said the house could serve as a meeting place or a visitors center for the park, which is owned by the state but maintained by Somerset County.

Searfoss said the appearance of the house is “deceptive from the outside” but the interior lends itself to a community use.

“It could be very useful to the town,” he said.

Ray Murray, the township’s chief financial officer, said the house, which is handicapped accessible, is in “pretty good shape.” A new roof was installed a few years ago, Murray said, and the oil tank is above ground.

“It really is in decent shape,” Searfoss said.

The sole expense of maintaining the house, the mayor said, is the cost of heating it in winter so the water pipes do not freeze.

Committee Member Patrick Boccio said he would like an engineering assessment done on the house before the township enters into an agreement with the state.

The Township Committee agreed to send a letter to the state expressing interest in the lease.

Boccio joked about another use for the property.

“Can we set off fireworks from there?” he asked.

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