Chester Borough Names Property at 50 North Road

The Chester Borough Council Has unanimously voted to name the Open Space property at 50 North Road, the Seward Hill Preserve. The Preserve, purchased by the Borough in 2009 from Alcatel-Lucent, consists of 64 acres, which are restricted to passive recreation. There are an additional 22 acres on the parcel which are owned by the municipality and the buildings house the municipal offices and department of public works in addition to the Chester Board of Education.

The prominent feature of the property is Seward Hill.  The Seward Family dates back to the 1700s in Chester.  According to Chester, New Jersey A Scrapbook of History by Frances Greenidge (1974), Obiadiah Seward was a “Black River Patriot” in the Revolutionary War. The Seward Farm was passed down in the Seward family until it was sold to the pastor of the Chester Congregational Church, sometime around 1801.  A portion of an old “Seward” house can still be seen on Seward Place in Chester Borough.  The original Seward Farm was known as the “Welcome Home Farm.”

In 1928, Bell Telephone Laboratories purchased what by then was referred to as Seward’s Hill, as an outdoor testing site.  According to Mrs. Greenidge, the spot was chosen “for its altitude of over a thousand feet, and for its ‘particularly good wind exposure on open wires.’’’ In 1929, the original “telephone pole forest” was installed.

At some point, John and Willard Apgar, decedents of early settlers of Chester, decided to erect a Christmas Star on the Hill, which remains a tradition to this day.  Mrs. Greenidge also mentioned that the Bell Lab employees enjoyed working on the property and one of them brought in a high powered telescope and placed it on the Hill.  It is said that on a clear day, the men could count 33 stories of the Empire State Building.

Today, the Seward Hill Preserve is home to a trails system which winds its way through Chester Township and Borough.  Native plantings dot the landscape and wildlife freely roam its environs.

Well Water Testing Available to Chester Area Residents

This spring, Chester Township and Chester Borough will team up with Raritan Headwaters to offer well testing at an affordable cost. Residents can purchase water sample collection kits on Saturday, April 7th from 9:00 a.m. to noon at The Barn at Highlands Ridge Park at 100 North Road. Water samples must then be dropped off on Monday, April 9th from 6:30-10:00 a.m. at The Barn. Test results will be available two weeks later.

Unlike public drinking water systems, private wells are not required by law to be regularly checked for contamination before the water is sent to the tap.

Raritan Headwaters is a nonprofit watershed conservation organization working to protect and preserve the public’s access to safe, clean water that is swimmable, fishable and most importantly, drinkable. Eighty percent of the residents of this region – about 320,000 people – obtain their drinking water through wells.

Well water pollutants found in the region include coliform bacteria, nitrate, arsenic, iron, radon and volatile organic compounds. Sources of contamination include failing septic systems, chemical fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides and naturally-occurring contaminants like arsenic. Water may also become contaminated with lead and copper as it travels through older pipes in the home.

Raritan Headwaters offers a “basic kit” for coliform bacteria and nitrate for $60. Residents may also test for other potential contaminants at an additional cost.

Staff members at RHA are available to advise citizens who are uncertain about which tests to order and to review individual results after testing is complete. More information on the tests we offer can be found at www.testmywell.org. Testing is performed by a private state certified laboratory and results are confidential.

The Community Well Testing program was established in 1974, allowing RHA to monitor the health of our region’s groundwater supply for over four decades. Raritan Headwaters recently completed a 30-year trend analysis of well water tests result in the region, which showed an increase in arsenic levels in several towns as well as slight increases in coliform bacteria and nitrate concentrations.

“Your private well is an important investment that is best protected by regular check-ups to ensure a reliable and safe source of drinking water for you and your family,” said Mara Tippett, well test manager for RHA.

Residents who aren’t able to take advantage of the Chester’s Community Well Test event can contact Tippett to arrange to pick up a test kit at RHA’s Bedminster or Flemington office. She can be contacted at 908-234-1852, ext. 401 or welltesting@raritanheadwaters.org.

For more information about Raritan Headwaters and its programs and preserves, go to www.raritanheadwaters.org.

Free Dogwood Trees available 4/14

The Chester Township Environmental and Open Space Commission and The Chester Borough Shade Tree Commission are giving away Free Dogwood Trees!

Pick up a lovely flowering dogwood seedling on April 14, 2018 from 9:30 am until Noon at the Gazebo on Main Street.

Honor Earth Day and Arbor Day by Planting a Tree

Also, there will be information on Emerald Ash Borer, an insect attacking our Ash trees!

Don’t know if you have Ash trees?  Come and see our display to help you identify Ash trees.

Borough of Chester – Hunting Notice

Chester Borough will be holding the first season of its Deer Management Program beginning January 1, 2018. Interested Chester Borough Residents that are NJ licensed hunters should submit applications by December 21, 2017 to be eligible for consideration. Applications are available here and also at the Municipal Building located at 50 North Road. A lottery drawing will be held on December 21, 2017 at 4 pm. Lottery winners who are not present will be notified. A walkabout and proficiency test will be held on December 23, 2017 at 10:00 for the winners.

Denean Probasco, RMC, CMR Borough Clerk

Leaf Pickup extended until Dec. 1

LEAF REMOVAL

Leaf pickup has been extended to December 1st. Leaves must be out before 8 am on December 1st for pickup. This is for leaves only.  Brush pickup ended on October 13th.  There will be another pick up in the spring.

Leaf pick up is only for residential properties. No mixed use or commercial proprieties will be picked up; leaves need to be removed immediately.

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Please place leaves in piles behind the curb line.  Leaves should not extend more than 2 feet into the street.

Leaves cannot be closer than 10 feet from the storm drain as per NJDEP regulations.

Leaves will NOT be picked up if: put in bags, mixed with grass, sticks or garden debris.

Leaves that are not picked up due to non-compliance with the above will become the responsibility of the homeowner.    

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