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IMMEDIATE RELEASE
12/20/02
02/133

Contact: Amy Cradic
( 609) 984-1795

New Funding Plan Strengthens State's Open Space Program

(02/133) TRENTON -The McGreevey Administration today announced a new bonding plan that will provide the Garden State Preservation Trust an additional $100 million annually to expedite the preservation of New Jersey's critical open space.

Based on recommendations from the state Department of Treasury, the Garden State Preservation Trust approved a new financing structure that will allow the state to minimize interest and debt service costs to taxpayers while maximizing the proceeds generated for the open space program. The plan will provide for a mix of $400 million in current interest bonds and $100 million in zero-coupon bonds.

“Governor McGreevey's Smart Growth agenda sets new priorities for open space preservation and a sound financing plan to support his initiatives — including funds for needed parks in local communities, — said Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell. "Today's plan will increase the funding resources we have to accomplish these goals."

“We are extremely pleased with the Trust's approval of this prudent financing mechanism for open space acquisitions,” said state Treasurer John McCormac. "The mixture of current interest and zero coupon bonding provides the financial leverage New Jersey needs to implement a sound and effective open space preservation program."

McCormac added that the approval of financing arrangements signals a strong shared commitment to preserving New Jersey's open space resources. "The Garden State Preservation Trust can now take a giant leap forward in a spirit of partnership and cooperation among all parties working for the Trust's success.'

Preserved open space protects New Jersey's water supply and quality, preserves sensitive habitats for endangered and threatened species, minimizes sprawl, provides recreational opportunities and allows New Jerseyans to connect with nature.

With widespread public support and a commitment from Governor McGreevey, the Garden State Preservation Trust funds will continue to create a legacy of protected open space and historic resources for future state residents.

Since the Garden State Preservation Trust's inception in 1998, New Jersey has purchased nearly 300,000 acres for open space preservation, has approved more than $50 million in recreational projects and park development, and provided over $13 million for historic preservation projects.


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