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NJ DEPT. OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION NEWS RELEASE
RELEASE: 8/21/01
01/96
CONTACT: Sharon A. Southard or Amy Collings
(609) 984-1795 or 609-292-2994

DEP PARTNERSHIP WITH MERCER ADDS 202-ACRE PARCEL TO DUCK POND RUN;
ESTABLISHES GREENBELT & PROTECTS WATER QUALITY

There are 202 more acres of protected open space in West Windsor (Mercer County) due to the recent acquisition of the Maneely property that is now a part of the Duck Pond Run and Open Space Preserve, announced State Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Shinn today.

"West Windsor's open space program is a model for other municipalities to follow. The township has an ambitious program and has worked with various partners and volunteers over the last eight years to save 1,480 acres of open space and farmland," said acting Governor Donald T. DiFrancesco.

"Saving land makes sense. It promotes smart growth, provides space for parks and keeps our air and water clean. We encourage more local governments to initiate land preservation efforts and leverage dollars through creative partnerships," DiFrancesco said.

Shinn joined West Windsor officials in the celebration of the new open space acquisition in West Windsor and detailed preservation plans for the recent $4,350,000 land deal. The parcel is the newest addition to 175 acres already preserved within the Duck Pond Run Greenway and Open Space Preserve.

"This is yet another significant milestone for West Windsor Township which has long been a leader in land-use planning and aggressive in its open space preservation efforts,"said Shinn. The preservation of this property will not only enhance the water quality of the Duck Pond Run and the D&R Canal but also will eventually protect the headwaters of the Little Bear Brook which runs into the Millstone River."

Shinn stressed that the property is important to protect because it serves as a forested buffer zone which will play a major role in West Windsor's effort to avoid streamwater degradation. Shinn praised the Maneely partnership for their willingness to sell the valuable piece of land which could have been purchased for future development, and applauded the public-private partnership efforts between the state's Green Acres Program, Mercer County and the New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Financing Program.

"West Windsor residents have shown their support for clean air, water and less traffic congestion by voting three times for the township's own open space taxes," said Shinn. "They know like many New Jerseyans that open space preservation is interconnected to an overall healthy ecosystem and that it pays back great dividends by protecting the quality of life in our communities which makes New Jersey a better place to live, work and raise a family."

West Windsor Mayor Shing-Fu Hsueh said that the future looks bright for the open space preservation movement in West Windsor and township officials are committed to acquiring even more open space in the near future.

"Special thanks to members of the Township Council, Planning Board, the Open Space Task Force and the Friends of West Windsor Open Space for this purchase and for making West Windsor's open space program successful," said Hsueh. "The greatest challenge now facing the township is how to manage growth and development in an environmentally sound manner. This will require us to plan on a regional level with state, county, and municipal partners. Open space acquisition will play a major role in promoting this goal given the pressures of development, increase in traffic and demand on local services. We need more open space, smart planning, and responsible growth to assure our continued economic vitality."

Hsueh also noted the township is currently involved in other environmental initiatives such as working to develop the 25-acre Ron Rodgers arboretum, which when completed, will offer mature woodlands, paths and rolling lawns. A DEP tree-planting grant of $17,800 will also be used to purchase 125 trees for the arboretum, Hsueh said.

The parcel was funded with a $793,348 grant from Green Acres, a $2,877,657 low interest loan from the New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Financing, and $676,995 from Mercer County, and will be managed by West Windsor. Duck Pond Run flows west past North Post Road, swings Northwest and ends at the D&R Canal. The successful creation of the Duck Pond Run Greenway and Open Space Preserve will result in an extensive greenway when linked to existing municipal greenbelt lands east of Penn Lyle Road.

"The New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Trust is very pleased to be able to play a part in the growing movement to preserve New Jersey's open spaces," said Dirk C. Hofman, executive director of the Trust. "Working closely with the Municipal Financing and Construction Element at DEP, and with Green Acres, we have been able to help finance the preservation of about 2,600 acres in this, the first year of our land acquisition financing program. Preserving stream corridors and the land that drains into them represents front-line protection for our surface waters from the impacts of nonpoint source pollution. We hope that more municipal and county governments will take advantage of our low-cost financing program to accelerate their land acquisition plans."

Ample financing for clean water projects including open space acquisition is available. Municipalities and counties contemplating open space acquisitions should keep this in mind when applying. Applicants should file a letter of commitment and planning documentation on or before Oct. 1, 2001 for the 2002 fiscal year by calling Tracy Sheulin, supervisor, Open Space Land Acquisition unit, Municipal Finance and Construction Element, Division of Water Quality.

The state has protected 1,115,110 acres of open space since 1961 with 211,574 acres preserved as part of the state's million-acre goal.

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Last Updated: August 21, 2001