DEP SIGNS AGREEMENT WITH
PLAINFIELD AND UNION COUNTY TO INCREASE OPEN SPACE
Department of Environmental Protection
(DEP) Commissioner Bob Shinn today signed major environmental
protection agreements with the City of Plainfield and Union
County to increase parkland in the City and ensure long-term
improvements in environmental quality for residents including
additional open space, improved recreational facilities,
a bikeway and development of the Green Brook Pedestrian
"These agreements memorialize our
commitment to work with Plainfield and Union County to preserve
open space and improve environmental quality. Preserving
areas along the Green Brook and other stream corridors is
a win-win for the city and county as it will improve the
quality of life for residents, protect flood prone areas
and spur the revitalization of downtown Plainfield. Economic
prosperity is key to revitalization, and enhancing the parks
in the city adds amenities for current and future residents,"
The two Performance Partnership Agreements
include immediate financial commitments and long-term strategies
to preserve open space and add other environmental improvements.
Plainfield and Union County will both add land in the central
district of Plainfield to their Green Acres inventories,
and restore a one-half acre parking area to play space at
the Madison Avenue Playground. Plainfield will dedicate
acreage along the Green Brook as the first part of the Green
Brook Pedestrian Pathway.
The county will provide the $50,000 needed
to do the design phase of the Green Brook Pedestrian Pathway,
which will include a 25-foot wide park area with a marked
walking and bicycling trail. The county will also funds
the initiation of a program to install and renovate equipment
for Plainfield's current inventory of playgrounds. Union
County will also provide $100,000 toward the purchase of
a new park in Plainfield to include open space and a playground.
"We are pleased that Commissioner
Shinn and the DEP recognize the importance of creating parkland
and protecting open space in urban municipalities,"
said Freeholder Chairman Lewis Mingo, Jr. "We look
forward to working with the commissioner's staff to supplement
Union County's ongoing commitment to open space and recreational
Plainfield Mayor Albert McWilliams gave
this his full support. "I am pleased that the DEP,
Union County and the c ity have been able to put together
a path breaking set of agreements to increase open space
in the community, making it possible for our residents to
profit from more and better opportunities to enjoy nature.
It is also appropriate that our city council has seen fit
to establish an environmental commission, which will provide
an opportunity for residents to participate in the discussion
and oversight of environmentally related issues in the community."
Plainfield's agreement includes long-term
goals to increase the amount of open space and recreational
facilities, minimize impacts to flood hazard areas and encouraged
the recently established Plainfield Environmental Commission.
The city has already met with DOT to begin plans for the
bikeway. Other agreements include creation of a list of
prioritized brownfield sites to accelerate redevelopment
and an initiative to promote landscaping and greening throughout
Union County's long-term strategies include
increasing open space in cities in the Urban Coordinating
Council program with the New Jersey Redevelopment Authority,
which currently includes Plainfield and Elizabeth, or other
cities entering into similar agreements with DEP. The county
will work to protect additional lands along the Green Brook,
the Elizabeth River and other stream corridors, to increase
tree plantings, and to expand the pedestrian pathway and
other areas to link the county's open space lands.
The city and county will conduct overviews
of environmental quality, including industrial, solid waste,
green house gas reduction, and open space, and develop key
baseline data to measure the extent of environmental improvements.
Action plans will be developed and the city and county will
work with a team leader at DEP who will assist in meeting
and tracking project goals.
DEP has previously signed Performance Partnership
Agreements with Bayonne, Hudson County, Perth Amboy, Wildwood
and Burlington County. The agreements are modeled after
DEP's agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,
called the National Environmental Performance Partnership
System, which outlines goals and measures to track environmental