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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 17, 2004

Contact: Erin Phalon
(609) 984-1795

DEP TO HOLD WORKSHOPS ON OPEN SPACE FUNDING

Programs Help Local Governments and Nonprofit Groups to Obtain Funding for Open Space Acquisition

(04/67) TRENTON -- The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Green Acres Program and the Environmental Infrastructure Financing Program will hold eight informational workshops from July to October to guide municipal and county officials and nonprofit organizations through the state-funding application process.

"The 2004 workshop series advances Governor James E. McGreevey 's commitment to promote open space preservation and to create new parks," said DEP Deputy Commissioner Joanna Dunn Samson. "I encourage local governments, nonprofit organizations and land use professionals to take advantage of the Green Acres Program's informational workshops to explore opportunities for open space funding."

Topics to be discussed at the workshops include Green Acres Funding for Land Preservation and Park Development, Elements of a Land Transaction, Changes in Use, Historic Preservation Trust Funding and the New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Financing Program (EIFP).

During the workshops, DEP will encourage municipal and county government applicants who have a project with a water quality benefit to apply to the EIFP for acquisition funds. The EIFP is a partnership between the DEP and the NJ Environmental Infrastructure Trust (Trust). The EIFP provides low-cost financing to municipal, county, and other local government units as well as to water purveyors for the construction of wastewater, drinking water and stormwater or nonpoint source pollution management projects, including open space acquisition that provides a water quality benefit.

Financing through EIFP provides a rate equal to one-quarter of the current market rate and results in a loan structure that reduces annual debt service significantly when compared to local financing options. The EIFP has no limit on the amount of money that a borrower can finance to acquire land and the funds can be used as a local match for land acquisition projects funded through Green Acres.

The Green Acres program protects environmentally sensitive open space, water resources and other significant natural and historic resources and provides parks for New Jersey residents and visitors to enjoy. Green Acres partners with, and provides grants and low interest loans to, qualifying county and municipal government agencies and nonprofit land conservancies who work to further these same goals.

The Green Acres program was created in 1961 to meet New Jersey's growing recreational and conservation needs. Since Governor McGreevey took office, the Green Acres Program has acquired 57,914 acres of open space -37,064 acres through state projects, 10,362 acres through local projects and 10,488 acres in partnership with nonprofit groups. To date, the Green Acres Program has protected more than 540,214 acres of open space and provided funding to develop hundreds of parks statewide. The statewide system of preserved open space and farmland totals more than 1.26 million acres.

This year's workshops are scheduled for:

  • July 12 at Bergen County Community Services Building, Paramus, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • July 13 at The Meeting House at Waterloo Village, Stanhope, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • July 21 at Gloucester County College, Sewell, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • August 2 at Hominy Hill Clubhouse, Colts Neck, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • August 12 at the Clinton Township Municipal Building, Annandale, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • August 17 at the Bordentown Township Municipal Buildng, Bordentown, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • September 13 at the Long Beach Township Municipal Building, Brant Beach, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • October 4 at the Crest Pier Facility, Wildwood Crest, 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Pre-registration is required for all workshops. There is a registration fee, which covers materials, lunch and refreshments, of $25 per person and $20 for each additional member from the same municipality or organization. To register, contact Nancee May, Green Acres workshop coordinator, at (609) 984-0570.

 

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