TRENTON – Governor Jon Corzine ceremonially signed two pieces of legislation today sponsored by Senator Shirley K. Turner that will appropriate more than $70 million for open space acquisition and farmland preservation projects.
“New Jersey has a long, proud history of protecting our pristine open spaces from the constant pressure of development,” said Senator Turner, D-Mercer. “The Green Acres program allows us to combat sprawl while protecting some of our most environmentally sensitive areas to be enjoyed by generations to come.”
The first measure, formerly bill S-2754, will appropriate $40 million in voter approved bond funds to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for the acquisition of lands by the State for recreation and conservation purposes.
Mercer County will benefit from four of the projects in the measure, including $750,000 to preserve the Delaware & Raritan Canal Greenway, $2,750,000 to preserve the Delaware River Watershed, and $250,000 to maintain trails such as the Capital to the Coast Trail. There will also be $2,000,000 dedicated for parks in urban communities, including Trenton..
“These projects take to heart the recommendations that New Jersey be more active in preserving land bordering our waterways. Hopefully, this will begin to reduce the frequency and severity of floods along the Delaware River,” explained Senator Turner.
The second measure, formerly bill S-2756, appropriates $30,600,000 from the Garden State Farmland Preservation Trust Fund to finance programs that purchase farmland titles or development rights.
“It is critical that New Jersey residents vote ‘Yes’ on public question #3 on Tuesday so that we can continue to fund open space and farmland preservation programs in the future. It would be a shame if this was the last time that New Jersey acted to keep more of our open spaces free from development,” added Senator Turner.