County buys $515K house to expand Nomahegan Park

Photo by Brian Trusdell
A blighted house on a half acre of property at 112 Park Drive in Cranford will be razed and the paved roadway in front eliminated to expand the adjacent Nomahegan Park.

A dilapidated house that has been abandoned for 12 years, along with the half acre of land it sits on, has been purchased for $515,000 by Union County for incorporation into Nomahegan Park, county officials have announced.

The two-story house sits at the dead end of Park Drive in Cranford. The purchase, completed Nov. 22, will allow the county to raze the house and remove the end of the street so it can expand Nomahegan Park, the county said in a Nov. 26 press release. The .59 acre property, with broken playground equipment and yard debris, sits among stately homes in the area, including one with 30-foot columns about 100 yards away.

The expansion of the park will enable the County Parks and Recreation Department to connect the two sections of Nomahegan trail in the park that is interrupted by Park Drive, officials said. The paved walkway meanders through the park and empties onto Park Drive at its southern end near the abandoned house, curves around the property and resumes on the other side.

The house was vacated in 2007, officials said, and the county expressed interest in purchasing the property in 2010. Periodic negotiations with the owners continued until this past summer, when an agreement was reached.

Nomahegan Park hosts athletic fields, a lake where fishing is permitted, fitness equipment and a playground, as well as paved pathways and forested areas. The Rahway River also runs through the park.

Photo by Brian Trusdell
A trail that empties onto Park Drive in Cranford will be connected to another section behind a blighted house, which will be demolished now that the county has purchased the property.

The Union County park system has grown to include 36 parks totaling more than 6,700 acres.