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Officials Meet in Trenton for Bancroft Bucks

Open-space funds are sought.

Borough Administrator Sharon McCullough met in Trenton on Tuesday with state officials to plot the next step in securing open-space grant money for the Bancroft public purchase.

McCullough said she and appraiser, Harry Renwick, opened talks on how to plot the amount of open-space that will be part of the 19-acre Bancroft purchase. Renwick will need to do additional work on the appraisal for which the school board hired him. 

Borough officials have said they have at least $3.5 million in open-space grants and tax funds for the $16 million Bancroft purchase. But the borough will need to submit a detailed appraisal to the state outlining exactly where the open-space will be on the property, McCullough said.

The Haddonfield BOE and the borough have agreed to buy the property for $12.2 million, part of a $12.5 million purchase and development bond referendum on the ballot in January. Plans include the construction of a new artificial-turf field, securing land for future school development and carving out nature trails on open space. The land is adjacent to Haddonfield Memorial High School on Kings Highway East.

Renwick's BOE appraisal values the property at $15.1 million, nearly twice the $8 million value of a 2005 appraisal.

Board President Steve Weinstein said the increase in value of the property was justified because of a difference in zoning of the property now than in 2005, and a higher demand for institutional property acquisition and development. The 2005 appraisal limited the use to half-acre lots and a limited number of houses.

Last week, the board slashed $4.3 million off of a $16.8 million purchase and development plan rolled out over the summer. The cuts were made possible by the $3.5 million in open-space money and by eliminating $800,000 to install artificial turf at the high school football stadium.

The field will be paid for by a public-private partnership. Local residents raised $600,000 toward the $1 million cost of the high-school field resurfacing and the installation of turf on an adjacent field owned by the borough. The borough and BOE will pay the difference.

McCullough said a third appraisal will be needed to secure Camden County open space money, but Renwick may be barred legally from doing it. The county money, up to $1.6 million is part of the $3.5 million total in open-space money.

Renwick's fee for the appraisals were not immediately reported.

PJ December 06, 2012 at 04:51 PM
yeah, sorry about that!
Roland W December 06, 2012 at 04:53 PM
Joe Taxpayer, Are you on the zoning board? It doesn't take a whiz to figure out the people behind this deal got their own gig going on. So you worked in a family appraisal business growing up. I bet your Pop would be sharp enough to figure out what you can't. Unless he was involved in this Bancroft deal. Or you are.
Joe Taxpayer December 06, 2012 at 06:26 PM
Why yes I am! How did you guess? Nah, just kiddin.....I respect the volunteers who do but it's not my cup of tea. Roland, I didn't say I was in a family appraisal biz. Rather I asked Jack S if he grew up in one. It was my attempt at bringing My Cousin Vinny into the mix and some levity. Remember the scene where the Prosecutor questions Marisa Tomei about what makes her an expert witness to try and disqualify her....she says her dad was a mechanic, her uncle was, her brothers..... great movie! Let me add I think there are a lot of good questions raised on here in between the various made up stuff and personal attacks that need answers but I will stop short at insulting our BOE and Commish for doing the best they can in their volunteer jobs. They should consider investing a few bucks in some PR incl documents to share. As for now, we have an official tax assessor who says its worth $12M and an expert appraiser saying its worth something else.
Brian Kelly December 06, 2012 at 10:26 PM
Joe, Our official tax assessor is overpaying at least 4 million. When Bancroft was assessed at the height of the market 2005 at 6 1/2 to 8 million and is now assessed at 12.2 million in a depressed market something is wrong. We can go back and forth on the validity of the assessment. The residents will make the final judgement.
PJ December 09, 2012 at 06:00 PM
Radnor field will be sold by the BOE to developers. Is anyone paying attention?

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