UPPER FREEHOLD – Senator Barbara Buono, Chair of the Senate Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee made the following statement today regarding the Committee’s hearing today at the Historic Walnford Mill Village on promoting Heritage Tourism throughout the State:
“Tourism is New Jersey’s second largest industry and with some work, we can make it an even bigger economic engine. Usually people only think about the Shore when it comes to New Jersey tourism, yet our rich heritage and central role in the founding of the United States provides a great many historic sites that are wonderful tourist attractions.
“Simply walking around a place like the Walnford Mill Village gives one a sense of what it was like to live in New Jersey in the 18th or 19th century. It is the type of experience that one can only truly appreciate first-hand.
“We played a pivotal role in the Revolutionary War, being the scene of five major battles and the host to General Washington’s army for about a quarter of the war. We also played a large role in the nation’s development, welcoming countless immigrants and leading the way during the industrial revolution.
“With all of these historic achievements, New Jersey is fortunate enough to have scores of historic sites for people of all ages to visit and appreciate the heritage of New Jersey. Now New Jersey has to make a more concerted effort to promote these sites and invite the world to come and share these treasures.
“The key to these efforts will be finding a permanent, stable source of funding to support these sites and restore them to their best condition. Recent legislation sponsored by Governor Codey and myself will provide $75 million to catch up on critical maintenance to our State Parks, but in order for our Heritage Tourism industry to be successful, we need to provide funds for decades to come.
“A stable funding source will not only promote the growth of this vital economic engine, but also make sure that these sites are available for future generations so that they too may walk through a site such as the Walnford Mill and imagine what it was like living during the Revolutionary War.”