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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 8, 2005

Contact: Erin Phalon
(609) 984-1795

DEP ADVANCES PRESERVATION AND PARKS PARTNERSHIPS

DEP Recommends $148.5 Million for Local and Nonprofit Acquisition and Park Improvements

(05/72) TRENTON -- The Garden State Preservation Trust today approved the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Green Acres Program's latest round of funding recommendations for open space acquisitions and park development projects. The funding package, which now moves to the Legislature for approval, recommends the dedication of $148.5 million to local governments and nonprofit organizations for open space acquisition and park development.

"Protected open space and attractive recreational facilities in cities, suburbs, and rural communities help to improve the quality of life for residents and visitors and create an environment where people want to live and work," said Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell.

The $148.5 million allocation recommendation for Green Acres projects includes:

  • $83.2 million for municipal and county land acquisition projects. Funds are recommended for Urban Aid Acquisition, Planning Incentive Acquisition, Site-Specific Incentive Acquisition, and Standard Acquisition projects.

  • $38.5 million for the development of 71 local parks and recreational facilities. Specifically, DEP recommends the allocation of $25.6 million in grants and loans for 38 development projects in Urban Aid municipalities or sponsored by Densely Populated Counties across New Jersey. Grants and loans for 18 development projects in Densely or Highly Populated Municipalities, or sponsored by Highly Populated Counties, are recommended for a total of $8.2 million. An additional $4.5 million in loans is advised for 15 park development projects in non-urban communities.

  • $16 million for acquisition projects by 32 nonprofit organizations. Nonprofit organizations can receive 50% matching grant funding for land acquisition statewide.

  • $10.8 million for 35 recreational development projects by nonprofit organizations. Nonprofit organizations can receive 50% matching grant funding for recreational development projects in Urban Aid, Densely or Highly Populated Municipalities, or Densely Populated Counties.

DEP's funding recommendations reflect the State of New Jersey's commitment to protect the Highlands region. This package includes $36.6 million for acquisition projects in the Highlands-$26.8 million for local acquisition projects and $9.8 million for nonprofit acquisition projects. The proposed land acquisition projects would be made possible by the second expenditure of funds made available via voter approval of Public Question #1 in November 2003. 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.

The DEP 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 recreation and conservation resources.

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.

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Green Acres Program was created in 1961 to meet New Jersey's growing recreation and conservation needs. Together with public and private partners, Green Acres has protected more than 568,191 acres of open space and provided hundreds of outdoor recreational facilities in communities around the State. The total acres of protected open space and farmland across the State has exceeded 1.2 million acres.

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Last Updated: June 8, 2005