More money may be coming for Ocean City to purchase Schilling property

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Gov. Chris Christie signed legislation earlier this week that appropriates $55 million from the 2009 Green Acres Fund for local government open space acquisition and park development projects.

Under this legislation, Ocean City’s 19th Street beachfront is eligible for $325,000 in acquisition money for recreation and conservation.

The 19th Street beachfront, commonly referred to as the Schilling Estate property, has been the subject of local controversy over the past several years. The property was part of a federal beach replenishment project in the 1990s, raising it several feet.

After the death of property owner Helen Schilling, the estate applied for a permit to build a single-family home there, to which several neighbors objected. Since then, the city has been trying to secure a deal with the estate to purchase the property and turn it into open space.

On Sept. 18, 2012, The Garden State Preservation Trust announced that it had approved more than $123 million in Green Acres open space acquisition and recreational development projects, including a $25,000 loan and $300,000 matching grant for Ocean City, along with adjacent property owners, to acquire the .36 acre beachfront property to preserve the site as a natural area.

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