Cornerstone property would be bike path to nowhere

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To the editor:
You gotta love those Linwood Council members. They profess their conservative fiscal philosophy wherever they go by proclaiming that through shared services, employee cutbacks, layoffs and attrition they are holding the line on property taxes, and that may very well be the case. However, when it comes to spending the money of other taxpayers, they have no problem splurging on what has to be one of the most glaring examples of wasteful public spending: the acquisition of part of the Cornerstone property under the unbelievable guise of providing an extension of the bike path.

A handful of residents who live adjacent to this patch of woods and who have enjoyed the view from their homes but do not own or pay taxes on it petitioned the council to acquire the property to prevent development, which at the same time happens to maintain their view. Cornerstone, which was reported to have entered into bankruptcy earlier this year, apparently wants to sell the property for a staggering $1.8 million through a county grant of $900,000 and the majority of the remainder from the state DEP. On the surface it would appear that Cornerstone does not have the finances to develop this piece of property even if it wanted to, and would it really want more storefronts that may or may not be occupied?

Anyone who believes that those riding their bikes, walking, jogging or skateboarding on the bike path would exit onto Monroe Avenue, cross busy Route 9, continue around a two-story brown building and trek back to the original bike path must also believe in fairy tales. This extension, like the Gravina Island Bridge in Alaska, is a bike path to nowhere that serves the special interests of a few at the expense of many.

This would simply be an infusion of taxpayer money into Cornerstone, coupled with a few neighbors continuing to enjoy their scenery, along with a possible reduction in taxes paid by Cornerstone because the land would now be nontaxable public property – all at the expense of others.

I call on County Executive Dennis Levinson, the Board of Chosen Freeholders and Governor Christie to do what they promised to do when elected: Hold the line on taxes by only authorizing the expenditure of funds on projects that serve a real and necessary public purpose for the majority of county and state residents, not just a handful of residents or a private corporation.
If the residents of Linwood feel that strongly about acquiring this property to extend the bike path, then let them pay for it.

Larry Carlson

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