CHRISTIE ADMINISTRATION ANNOUNCES 2014 ROUND OF GREEN ACRES
PRESERVATION PROGRAM FUNDING
$100 MILLION AVAILABLE FOR OPEN SPACE PROJECTS, ALONG WITH $300 MILLION
ALREADY ALLOCATED TO POST-SANDY BLUE ACRES PROJECTS
(14/P38) TRENTON – The Department of Environmental Protection has initiated a new $100 million round of Green Acres Program funding for open space and recreation projects across the state, Commissioner Bob Martin announced today.
The DEP is accepting applications starting immediately from municipalities, counties and nonprofit groups for $100 million in Green Acres grants and loans for land acquisition and park development projects.
This funding is in addition to $300 million in federal dollars allocated to the Blue Acres Program (under the Green Acres Program umbrella) that has been committed by the Christie Administration to the post-Superstorm Sandy buyouts of homes and properties in flood prone areas, with a goal of removing 1,300 homes and creating new green spaces to serve as restored flood plains and natural storm buffer areas.
Green Acres funding leverages many millions of additional preservation dollars through matching federal, state, county, local and nonprofit funds.
“This latest round of Green Acres funding shows the Christie Administration’s continued commitment to protecting New Jersey’s open spaces, which are vital to safeguarding our natural resources and water supplies, while enhancing the quality of life in our state,” Commissioner Martin said.
“Green Acres dollars provide funding for a wide variety of important projects, from wildlife habitats and nature preserves to the creation of urban waterfront parks, greenway development and athletic fields that provide a host of opportunities for active and passive outdoor recreation,” added Commissioner Martin.
Applications for this latest funding round are due to the Green Acres Program by July 31. Please visit: http://www.state.nj.us/dep/greenacres/pdf/2014_Local_Application.pdf or
Green Acres will evaluate the applications and prepare a recommended list of awards for presentation to the Garden State Preservation Trust for approval. That list and the funding request then would be presented to the Legislature for its consent.
At the same time, the DEP’s Green Acres team continues to process several hundreds of applications through its Blue Acres Program from residents in numerous communities that were impacted by Superstorm Sandy, and who want to get out of harm’s way during future storms.
Nearly 200 offers have been accepted so far, with more than 80 homes already purchased in Sayreville and South River, two Middlesex County municipalities that sustained significant flooding when Sandy’s storm surge pushed from Raritan Bay and into the South River. Demolitions of some purchased homes in Sayreville have begun and will continue later this spring in Sayreville and South River. About 700 homes statewide have been identified so far for acquisition, using federal Sandy disaster funding.
Besides Sayreville and South River, the DEP also has secured funding for potential buyouts in Woodbridge, East Brunswick, Newark and the Delaware Bay community of Lawrence Township, and new groups of homeowners in Sayreville and South River. The DEP also has engaged in dialogue with officials and residents in other Sandy impacted municipalities, such as Atlantic Highlands, Old Bridge, Linden and another section of Woodbridge.
In addition to 1,000 targeted properties in tidal areas affected by Sandy, 300 homes in other towns, such as Manville and communities in the Passaic River Basin, which have repeatedly flooded, are being earmarked for buyouts.
The Green Acres program was created in 1961 as the result of an innovative bond referendum. Together with public and private partners, the Green Acres program has directly protected more than 650,000 acres of open space and provided hundreds of recreational opportunities for a wide range of activities, including natural areas, city parks, playgrounds, athletic fields, boat ramps, docks, fishing piers and environmental education.
In addition to providing recreation opportunities, Green Acres projects help protect water quality and stimulate economic development by creating jobs, at the same time making cities and towns more attractive places to live and work.
For more information about the Green Acres Program and Blue Acres Program visit: http://www.nj.gov/dep/greenacres/
For information on the Superstorm Sandy Blue Acres Buyouts Program, visit: http://www.nj.gov/dep/special/hurricane-sandy/