Governor Chris Christie • Lt.Governor Kim Guadagno
NJ Home | Services A to Z | Departments/Agencies | FAQs  
State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
DEP Home | About DEP | Index by Topic | Programs/Units | DEP Online 
news releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 21, 2004

Contact: Erin Phalon
(609) 984-1795

GOVERNOR'S OPEN SPACE PRIORITY PROJECTS MOVE FORWARD

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 organizations.

"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 projects,

  • $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 facilities.

"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 families."

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.

 

###

News Releases: DEP News Home | Archives
Department: NJDEP Home | About DEP | Index by Topic | Programs/Units | DEP Online
Statewide: NJ Home | Services A to Z | Departments/Agencies | FAQs

Copyright © State of New Jersey, 1996-2014

Last Updated: January 3, 2005