GOVERNOR'S OPEN SPACE PRIORITY PROJECTS MOVE
Garden State Preservation Trust Approves Green
Acres Funding Recommendations
Package Includes $55 Million for Highlands Projects
(04/88) TRENTON -- The Garden State Preservation
Trust today approved the latest round of funding recommendations
for DEP Green Acres Program open space acquisitions and
park development projects. The funding package, which now
moves to the Legislature for approval, recommends the dedication
of almost $225 million to land acquisition projects and
outdoor recreation development through the state land acquisition
program and grants and loans to local government and nonprofit
"This round of funding proposals reflects our ongoing
commitment to fighting sprawl and protecting open space
throughout New Jersey," said Governor James E. McGreevey.
"We are investing in our park systems, protecting our
wildlife and preserving watershed lands and open spaces
in the Highlands area and across our state so they remain
for future generations to enjoy. Protecting open spaces
that shelter critical drinking water sources, serve as habitat
to threatened and endangered species and provide valuable
recreational opportunities must remain among our top priorities."
The $224.9 million in Green Acres projects recommended
in this funding proposal package includes:
- $75 million in State Land Acquisition projects,
- $76.9 million for local government land acquisition
- $50 million for local parks development, and
- $23 million for acquisitions and recreational development
projects by nonprofit organizations.
The Green Acres Program recommends the allocation of funds
for land acquisition in rural, urban and suburban communities
throughout New Jersey. Funding for park development is recommended
for the creation of new parks and to upgrade existing recreational
"This funding package advances Governor McGreevey's
goals of protecting lands critical to our drinking water
and promoting the 'Parks For People' initiative," said
Commissioner Campbell. "Green Acres funding is a key
component of this Administration's focus on stopping sprawl
and improving the quality of life enjoyed by New Jersey
The Garden State Preservation Trust was established in
1999 to oversee the preservation of open space and farmland
and the creation of recreational facilities. The Garden
State Preservation Trust reviews funding proposal packages
submitted by DEP's Green Acres program, the State Agriculture
Development Committee and the New Jersey Historic Trust.
It then recommends them to the Legislature for passage.
The Governor retains final approval over all packages.
On November 4, 2003, voters overwhelmingly approved Public
Question Number 1, which provides an additional $150 million
to the Garden State Preservation Trust for open space and
farmland preservation and community parks.
Protecting open space and drinking water in the New Jersey
Highlands is among Governor McGreevey's top priorities.
In his 2004 State of the Union address, the Governor promised
to "take bold steps to preserve that area which supplies
drinking water to half of New Jersey's families." Those
bold steps include committing at least $50 million of the
additional Garden State Preservation Trust funding to land
preservation in the Highlands. This round of project recommendations
includes the first expenditure of that additional money.
Each municipality and nonprofit organization acquiring land
in the Highlands will receive an additional $175,000 in
funding for those purchases, while counties will receive
an additional $250,000 for purchases in the Highlands. Green
Acres also is dedicating $25 million toward direct State
land acquisition as part of Governor McGreevey's commitment
to protect the region's precious natural resources.
In this funding package, the Green Acres Program recommends
the allocation of $55,495,500 for acquisition projects in
the Highlands. This figure includes $23,770,500 for local
projects; $6,725,000 for nonprofit projects; and $25,000,000
for State projects in the Highlands.
In addition, Governor McGreevey committed $50 million of
the additional Garden State Preservation Trust funding to
park development efforts statewide. To support these important
local projects, Green Acres has increased the "base
award" used in its funding formula from $400,000 last
year to $500,000 this year for park development projects.
This supplemental funding will allow project sponsors to
more quickly and fully meet the recreational needs of the
residents in New Jersey's urban, suburban, and rural areas.
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 65,164 acres of open space -43,668 acres for
state projects, 10,703 acres for local projects and 10,793
acres for nonprofit groups. To date, the Green Acres Program
has protected more than 547,557 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.