Rice: ‘Green Acres Is The Place To Be’

Bill to provide Million of Dollars in Grants to Preserve Open Space and Park Development

TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Ronald L. Rice, which would provide State Green Acres funding for open space acquisition and park development in urban and densely populated areas in Essex County, was approved by the full Senate today.

“To preserve the quality of life for those living in New Jersey, we need to preserve the our open spaces, and help develop our parks and urban centers,” said Senator Rice. “Densely populated areas such as Newark are being developed rapidly and the need to preserve open space is pressing. If we want to preserve our resources and maintain a comfortable standard of living we need to commit to protecting our parks and opens paces.”

The bill, S-1821, would appropriate $22,906,600 from the “Garden State Green Acres Preservation Trust Fund.” The measure would provide grants to various nonprofit organizations to acquire or develop lands for recreation and conservation purposes.

Statewide, the bill appropriated, $11,805,500 for acquisition projects and $11,101,100 for park development projects. The acquisition projects would buy open space with the intention that the land would remain undeveloped. Senator Rice reported that, as part of the open space acquisition project funding, the 28th District would be eligible to receive a portion of over $1.5 million.

“The ‘Garden State’ is becoming overdeveloped and it is the job of the legislature to be sure we preserve as much open space as possible in order to keep the residents healthy and happy,” said Senator Rice. “The urban communities deserve to have a place to go to escape and enjoy nature without having to drive out of the city.”

The second piece of the legislation would provide grants to nonprofit organizations to develop lands for recreation purposes. The program would include park clean-up initiatives, adding benches and trees, and other enhancements in order to preserve the State’s resources and allow those in the urban areas to appreciate nature, said Senator Rice.