What To Do With Russell Farms...

The township has purchased the 5-acre plot of land, but just what will Wyckoff build there?

It may not be much to look at yet, but now that the township owns the 5 acre property known as Russell Farms it's time to start planning for the future.

At a  Wyckoff resident George Pitts tipped his hat to the township committee and Administrator Bob Shannon for their roles in completing the .

Pitts then suggested committeemen hold a public forum to help decide the fate of Russell Farms "so the public can actually talk about some of the things they'd like to do — be it a walking trail or a community garden or trying to build a museum on the site to show Wyckoff's history."

Details surrounding the future of Russell Farms are hazy, but officials have suggested the property would remain available for the most basic of uses. 

"According to feedback we've received from the community we'd like to see it preserved and used for passive recreation," Wyckoff Mayor Chris DePhillips said . "It will be a place you could take a walk or throw a Frisbee."

When Wyckoff-Franklin Lakes Patch stopped by the property recently, the gently slopped lot was treeless and completely bare except for about a half dozen mounds of loose soil, a small shed, and a backhoe.

So before the shovels start breaking ground, we're are asking you — Wyckoff-Franklin Patch readers — what you'd like to see on the 5-acre plot of land across the street from .

What does Wyckoff need most? Use your imagination: Would you like to see a dedicated dog run, a community garden, or something completely different?

Vote in the poll below or suggest you own idea in the comments below and we'll add it to the poll.

Have a question or news tip? Contact editor Joseph M. Gerace at Joseph.Gerace@patch.com, or find us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Ann Aslanian May 08, 2012 at 01:03 PM
I would like to see a community park. Somewhere you can not only walk with your children, but also with your dog, of course, where people would pick up after their dogs. I don't believe a dog run is necessary. Dog runs are actually not a good idea, as dogs do sometimes gets into fights and that, not only is dangerous for the dogs, but the owners, as well.
Stanley Goodman May 08, 2012 at 01:43 PM
I don't know how Russell Farms should be used. Let's not rush to impulsive conclusions. Instead, let's go back 2 steps to figure out which questions need to be answered in order to get the best long-term result. In which form would the park generate the most use? Is maximum use our goal, or it is visual beauty? What choices does 5 acres allow? Maintenance costs? IN SHORT, this process and decision should be made by a non-partisan committee. The committee should be required to discuss alternatives with key community groups, e.g., Wyckoff's Green Team and school leaders. Critically, the team should be led by someone with solid credentials in planning and design.
Chris May 08, 2012 at 02:45 PM
One of the main factors in any decision will be parking availability to support the use. It would be nice to have a tranquil park on the Sicomac side of town where you can also walk a dog and 5 acres supports that nicely. A gazebo or some other form of sitting area would also be nice. Any such structure, park benches or even trees and gardens for that matter, could be sponsored by individuals or local business to defer additional cost to the town.
jim and judy abma May 08, 2012 at 02:46 PM
There are many places open to the public for recreation already. I feel we should use this piece of land, originally a farm, for educational purposes. Unfortunately the building that was there would have been a perfect setting for displaying and informing the public of Wyckoff's history thru artifacts, etc. Wyckoff Historical Society has many artifacts from Wyckoff residents about Wyckoff which are now stored due to the fact they have no place to display them. This could be a great project for Wyckoff Historical Society and other interested people of Wyckoff to inform the public about the past history of the town in a visual way. The open space money collected was also designated for Historical preservation. This is an opportunity to use the land for such a purpose.
Brian Peppers May 08, 2012 at 03:04 PM
how bout making it a farm again. that whole area is all built up, and fer nothing. how many stores do you people need? how many stupid strip malls? why did Wyckoff even buy it, if they dont even know what to do with it? very poor planning and a waste of tax payers money. thanks, yer doing a swell job
Ben May 08, 2012 at 03:09 PM
Given how developed most of the town is, consideration should be given to letting it revert to its natural state. There are no true natural woods left in Wyckoff to explore. Not every piece of property has to be developed, and leaving it undeveloped is a low cost solution as well.
Joseph M. Gerace (Editor) May 08, 2012 at 04:44 PM
I'm surprised no one has suggested anything outlandish... like a 2-hole golf course or a corral for food trucks or a free range day care center. What are your wildest dreams for the property?
KS May 09, 2012 at 03:24 AM
As a dog owner, I would really like to see an animal friendly space in wyckoff where families can spend some time with mans best friend and children can play amongst them. Plenty of parks for those that are against it or not animal friendly but I think it's absurd that I have to travel to other towns to enjoy time at a park with my family which includes our family dog. Add a nice walking path, benches and some landscape to enjoy are great ideas as well as creating a space to highlight the towns history. I believe in green spaces but the town has absorbed the costs, let's use it for enjoyment and recreation.
Patti Tee May 09, 2012 at 04:57 AM
Why not make it a combination of community garden, walking trail, and small museum? Everyone could enjoy that. A bocce ball court or dog run would only serve half the population which means people without dogs or who don't play Bocce ball will be paying taxes for something they don't want or need.
KS May 09, 2012 at 10:53 AM
A community park should meet the needs of a community and if 50pct of the community would benefit from something which is currently not represented I would think that would be a reasonable addition. Many people pay taxes like everyone else, but don't have children in the school system as they are younger or the children have been through the system yet do not doubt the need to build programs and resources that their family may not necessarily benefit from. The property should meet various needs of the community but I do strongly believe a pet friendly space is needed in our community and should be considered in one of the park settings in town.
Donna Brady May 09, 2012 at 01:13 PM
I like Jim and Judy's idea very much!!
H. Yvette May 09, 2012 at 04:18 PM
I like everyone's idea. Can we include a town pool as an option as well?
Joseph M. Gerace (Editor) May 09, 2012 at 04:38 PM
It's been added, H. Thanks for the suggestion.
MER May 09, 2012 at 08:41 PM
Wyckoff already has the Wildlife Center (81 acres), which is wooded and has trails (owned by the county, not the town), the Wyckoff Community Park (18 acres), the Gardens of Wyckoff (13 acres). As far as passive woods, I believe there is only a few scraps owned by the town, like behind the library, on Franklin Ave near Zabriskie pond, 6.6 acres off Sicomac that is located between private homes and Beth Rishon and less than an acre adjacent to the railroad tracks on E. Stevens Ave. (Slightly off-topic, but does anyone know if the town owns the abandoned house on Demarest?) My opinion is that it would've been nice if there were still wooded lots in town. Five acres is not a lot and at the price paid, I would have a hard time seeing it turned back into a wooded lot. I guess a dog run would be ok. Currently I go to the one in Ridgewood.
Joseph M. Gerace (Editor) May 09, 2012 at 08:56 PM
MER, I'm not familiar with that property on Demarest. What's the story there? I'll investigate.
MER May 09, 2012 at 09:11 PM
I am not sure if there is a story. On the Godwin side of Demarest there is a house that is boarded up. It is surrounded my wooded/wetland area. I walk my dog past there sometimes. I thought I had heard somewhere it was owned by the town, but I may be misremembering.
Cindy May 09, 2012 at 09:29 PM
Demarest lot is Not town owned
Gary Rabinowitz May 09, 2012 at 10:12 PM
@ all - some great suggestions on specific uses... @ Stanley Goodman -- the best (only) suggestion on the correct process for determining a specific use. Some observations......It seems like families with young kids have ample resources in our community. There's a playground in Sicomac School about 1/2 mile from the Russell Farms property, and another playground at the Eastern Christian School. A walking area would be nice, but do we have as much as we need in our town (Wyckoff Comm. Park, McFaul)? A dog park is unique -- the closest are Hawthorne (Goffle Rd) and Ridgewood (Duck Pond), I believe. Do we have enough for teenagers in our community? What about senior citizens (bocce ball, shuffle board)? If you walk around the area, it seems like parking will take up a big chunk of the Russell Farm property. Could nearby Testimony church or Temple Beth Rishon accommodate parking for the Russell Farm property? Would a lush community park be safer (to extent lusher vegetation "soaks up" any residual contamination)? I defer to the science types on this as I just don't know. I look forward to an enthusiastic & lively process figuring out what next. Cheers! GXR
SN May 10, 2012 at 02:01 AM
I would love to see a 50 meter pool in town. It could be rented out in the morning to area swim teams and used by the town on hot summer afternoons.
JG May 11, 2012 at 11:03 PM
part of the space should be a dog area and the other should be a nice place where you can go to sit and relax( benches, nice landscape, maybe a fountain. There could be a contest to decide the designs, and area landscape companies( there are a million in the area) could sponser the landscape every season to cover some of the expense(good free advertising for the company) benches and fountains or anything needed in the park could be purchased or donated for the purpose in memory of a loved one or in honor of wyckoff history or church,fire dept, police, or ambulance, ect. Something for the dogs, a little history and a nice place to enjoy Wyckoff would include a little for everyone to enjoy.
MER May 12, 2012 at 01:22 AM
Thanks for the clarification Cindy. I believe at this point I have walked my dog down almost every street in town. That lot is one of the odder ones.
John Margroff May 13, 2012 at 03:24 PM
Great idea, Wyckoff could use a walking/ relaxing area with a building resembling prior times to house material from the .Unfortunately the histrorical committee is composed of those who are interested, but have not lived it, and only know from what they researched or have read.
John Margroff September 17, 2012 at 08:30 PM
The rown owns and holds a long term lease on the Spring Lake property. Graydon pool costs Ridgewood huge sums of money for upkeep. We don't need that in Wyckoff and that is why the "Y" runs Spring Lake.


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