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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 3, 2005

Contact: Erin Phalon
(609) 984-1795

DEP INVITES MUNICIPALITIES, COUNTIES AND NONPROFIT GROUPS TO APPLY FOR OPEN SPACE PRESERVATION FUNDS

(05/01) TRENTON -- Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell today announced the start of the DEP Green Acres program's Spring 2005 funding round. The DEP Green Acres program offers funds for land acquisition and park development. Municipalities, counties and nonprofit organizations seeking funding for projects should submit applications by February 15, 2005.

"I encourage local and nonprofit groups to take advantage of this chance to invest in New Jersey's quality of life by preserving natural and historic resources and recreational space," said Acting Governor Richard J. Codey.

DEP is committed to preserving New Jersey's natural resources statewide. Eligible land acquisition projects include the purchase of natural areas, historic sites, conservation areas, water bodies, and open space for active or passive recreation purposes. Funding is also available for the development of outdoor park and recreation facilities. Eligible recreational projects include facilities that provide boating, fishing, swimming, outdoor games and sports, biking, picnicking, camping, or nature interpretation. Related costs incurred as part of the acquisition or development project also may be eligible for reimbursement.

"The availability of additional Green Acres funding presents an excellent opportunity for local and nonprofit groups to advance their recreation and conservation priorities," said Commissioner Campbell. "I look forward to forming new partnerships and strengthening existing relationships with local and nonprofit officials who share DEP's interest in expanding New Jersey's network of protected open space."

Funding is available for land acquisition and park development projects in more populated communities. This round, funding incentives again will be offered to Densely Populated (population density of 5,000 per square mile) municipalities and counties, Highly Populated (population density of 1,000 per square mile) counties, and Highly Populated (total population over 35,000) municipalities. Urban Aid municipalities also will be eligible for additional funds.

Local governments that lack an open space tax are eligible for 25 percent matching grants for land acquisition projects, whereas local governments with an open space tax qualify for 50 percent matching grants for such projects. Applicants may also apply for supplemental Green Acres loans, which are offered with 2 percent interest and payable over 30 years. Land acquisition projects located in Urban Aid municipalities are eligible for 75 percent matching grants. Supplemental Green Acres loan funding for these urban projects is offered with no interest and is payable over 30 years.

Funds for park development are available through DEP Green Acres program 2 percent interest loans, which are payable over 20 years. Projects located in Densely and Highly Populated municipalities and counties qualify for 25 percent matching grants and 2 percent interest loans to be used for park development projects. Projects located in Urban Aid municipalities are eligible for 50 percent matching grants and 0 percent interest loans for park development projects.

The demand for local acquisition and development funding continues to greatly exceed Green Acres' available funding. DEP encourages local governments to consider supplemental acquisition funding available through the New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Financing Program (EIFP). In recent years, the EIFP has become an important resource for open space preservation in New Jersey. The EIFP is a low-cost (one-quarter market rate) loan program for projects that protect or improve water quality, including many land acquisition projects.

Applications are available at www.nj.gov/dep/greenacres.

 

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Last Updated: January 6, 2005