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January 26, 2005 (rt23 news) - (TRENTON) – Acting Governor Richard J. Codey today emphasized his commitment to preserving open space and protecting natural resources by signing 12 bills dedicating nearly $353 million to open space acquisitions, farmland preservation and park development projects throughout the state.

“By preserving open space and protecting natural resources, we are investing in our quality of life here in New Jersey,” said Codey. “This funding package helps us fight overdevelopment and unplanned growth and ensures that future generations may continue to enjoy our fields and farms and parks and open spaces.”

The $352.6 million package includes $224.9 million in Green Acres funding and $127.7 million in Farmland Preservation funding.

Codey signed the following bills:

A3150 (Roberts/Pou/Payne/Vas/Bryant/Coniglio)-Appropriates $70,651,800 from "Garden State Green Acres Preservation Trust Fund," and appropriates or re-appropriates certain other moneys for local government open space acquisition and park development projects in “urban aid,” densely or highly populated, and other municipalities and counties.

“When parks and recreational areas are established and maintained properly within our urban areas, the quality of life for those living there improves dramatically," said Assembly Majority Leader Joseph J. Roberts, Jr. (D-Camden, Gloucester). “Keeping our existing open spaces green and providing for safe, new recreational areas will undoubtedly make our cities and other urban areas better places to live and to raise families.”

“In our urban areas, parks and open space are essential to preserving the quality of life and providing safe areas for our children to play," said Sen. Wayne R. Bryant (D-Camden, Gloucester). "By making park development and recreational preservation a priority in the Green Acres program, we are reestablishing our obligation to ensure the safety and well-being of inner city youth throughout New Jersey."

A3197 (Sires/ DeCroce/Gill/ Martin)-Appropriates $22,468,700 from "Garden State Green Acres Preservation Trust Fund" for local government open space acquisition and park development projects in northern New Jersey.

“As New Jersey embarks on a battle to fight sprawl, we also must ensure that residents who live in all corners of the state have adequate recreational opportunities,” said Assembly Speaker Albio Sires (D-Hudson).

“North Jersey has suffered the effects of excessive development and suburban sprawl for countless years, and open space is at a premium,” said Sen. Nia H. Gill (D-Essex, Passaic). “Green Acres funding will allow local communities to protect precious undeveloped land on which to create recreational opportunities for our children and our children’s children.”

A3198 (Greenstein/Gusciora/Panter/Vas/Karcher/Palaia/Inverso/Turner)-Appropriates $16,181,750 from "Garden State Green Acres Preservation Trust Fund" for local government open space acquisition and park development projects in central New Jersey.

“Funding from the Green Acres program not only will further our open space preservation efforts, but it will supplement smart growth initiatives that will prevent over-development," said Assemblywoman Linda Greenstein (D-Mercer,Middlesex). “Both goals are achievable with this environmentally sound initiative.”

“Central Jersey has experienced a massive population boom in recent years as families in surrounding states are learning the benefits of the suburbs,” said Sen. Ellen Karcher, (D-Monmouth, Mercer). “As a result, we are facing constant pressure to develop much of the open space that for so long has been a major asset to our area. Green Acres funding will enable us to preserve some of the most vulnerable lands before it’s too late.”

A3199 (Van Drew/Greenwald/Conaway/Conners/Adler/Sweeney)-Appropriates $17,623,600 from "Garden State Green Acres Preservation Trust Fund" for local government open space acquisition and park development projects in southern New Jersey.

“The acquisition and development of parks and recreation areas have a double impact on the communities they affect," said Assemblyman Jeff Van Drew (D-Cape May/Atlantic/Cumberland). "On one hand, they are a proven tool to fight sprawl and overdevelopment in our towns and on the other hand, they make our communities stronger and better places to live and raise families."

“South Jersey has long been proud of our green heritage and wide open areas, but we’re facing greater pressure than ever before to develop much of our open space," said Sen. John H. Adler (D-Camden). "By protecting the most vulnerable sites through Green Acres funding, we can divert growth into areas that will benefit the most from new development and redevelopment."

A3200 (Watson Coleman/Burzichelli/Fisher/Smith/Mayer/Smith/Lance/McNamara/Sarlo)-Appropriates $75 million from "Garden State Green Acres Preservation Trust Fund" for state acquisition of lands for recreation and conservation purposes.

“For far too long, New Jersey’s quality of life has been under attack by runaway development that has devoured open space,” said Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-Mercer). “With this measure, we are making further investments in conservation and preservation to provide future generations of New Jerseyans with open space in which to play and learn.”

“The greenways and historic sites being funded through the Green Acres Preservation program will greatly contribute to the quality of life in the Garden State," said Sen. Bob Smith, (D-Middlesex, Somerset), chairman of the Senate Environment Committee. “New Jersey has an abundance of natural beauty and historically-significant sites, and we have an obligation to protect those resources for future generations.”

A3201 (Scalera/Gordon/Voss/Weinberg/Rice/Bryant) Appropriates $22,906,600 from “Garden State Green Acres Preservation Trust Fund) for grants to certain nonprofit entities to acquire or develop lands for recreation and conservation purposes.

“The Green Acres program is a perfect example of how the state and non-profit community can work together to improve the quality of life for New Jersey residents," said Assemblyman Fred Scalera (D-Essex, Bergen, Passaic). “Whether it’s saving land from being developed or purchasing ground for a local ballfield, residents can see the tangible benefits of well-spent open space preservation funding.”

“Sometimes, our state’s nonprofit neighborhood groups and environmental advocacy organizations are in the best position to serve as the caretakers to many of New Jersey’s open space preservation projects," said Senator Ronald L. Rice, (D-Essex.) “By empowering them through the Green Acres program to work in the best interests of the state, we are putting those most qualified in charge of overseeing the protection of some of the most valuable open space in New Jersey.”

A3202 (Sires/Stack/Impreveduto/Quigley/Cohen/Kenny) Appropriates $120,000 from the Garden State Green Acres Preservation Trust Fund for a grant to Save Ellis Island, Inc. to develop lands for recreation and conservation purposes.

“Restoring the New Jersey portion of Ellis Island is an on-going project that will serve generations of Americans,”said Sires, who as Speaker has taken a keen interest in the island’s restoration. “With each round of funding, we are able to further the progress of the island’s stabilization and restoration.”

“To more than 12 million immigrants arriving in America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Ellis Island symbolized the quest for freedom and liberty in a New World of opportunity,” said Senate Majority Leader Bernard F. Kenny, Jr., (D-Hudson.) “The State funds being offered through the Green Acres preservation program will go a long way towards restoring this national landmark as a living link to history for millions of Americans across the nation.”

A3203 (Mayer/Smith/Van Drew/Greenstein/Madden/Sweeney) Appropriates $39.8 million from “Garden State Farmland Preservation Trust Fund” for farmland preservation purposes.

“By acting today, we ensure that our children and grandchildren will have the ability in the future to enjoy the stretches of Garden State farmland that we enjoy today," said Assemblyman David Mayer (D-Camden, Gloucester).”

“Many times, our county and local governments are the best at determining which farmland projects deserve preservation because they are the front line in New Jersey’s war against sprawl,” said Sen. Fred H. Madden, (Gloucester, Camden). “Through the Green Acres Trust Fund, we are providing grants at up to 80 percent of the cost of preservation projects for many of these local entities, because we recognize that without local assistance, open space preservation is a pipe dream.”

A3204 (Greenwald/Previte/Bark/Bryant) Appropriates $8 million from “Garden State Farmland Preservation Trust Fund” for farmland preservation purposes in the Pinelands area.

“This round of farmland preservation funds will help prevent unwanted development -- particularly in the pinelands region of South Jersey,” said Assemblyman Louis D. Greenwald (D-Camden). "”These investments also will help us protect land overlying the aquifers that provide drinking water for South Jersey residents."

“New Jersey’s Pinelands region is among one of the State’s best-kept environmental treasures,” said Bryant. “Through the Pinelands Protection Act of 1979, we made a commitment more than 20 years ago to ensure the pristine beauty of the New Jersey Pinelands. With our ongoing support for Pinelands preservation through the Green Acres Trust Fund, the Garden State is continuing the tradition of putting our money where our mouth is.”

A3205 (Fisher/Burzichelli/Panter/Karcher/Bryant) Appropriates $25 million from “Garden State Preservation Trust Fund” for planning incentive grants to municipalities and counties for farmland preservation purposes.

“The parcels of land included in this bill contain rolling streams, woodlands and undisturbed meadows,” said Assemblyman Douglas H. Fisher (D-Cumberland, Salem, Gloucester). “They can now be saved for generations of New Jerseyans to enjoy and utilize.”

“Planning incentives are one of the best tools municipalities have to focus development where it will be a boon instead of a bane to local residents,” said Karcher. “By expanding the focus of Green Acres funding to allow municipal officials to offer planning incentives for smart growth on our State’s farmland, we’re offering a creative option to preserve environmentally sensitive areas.”

A3206 (Greenstein/Watson Coleman/Gusciora/Turner/Bryant) Appropriates $2.5 million from “Garden State Farmland Preservation Trust Fund” for grants to certain nonprofit organizations for farmland preservation purposes.

“This round of farmland preservation funds will help New Jersey prevent unwanted development," said Greenstein. “The funds being appropriated today will ensure that disappearing farmland will be around for generations to come.”

“Many times, local nonprofit groups are at the forefront of farmland preservation efforts," said Senator Shirley K. Turner (D-Mercer.) “By giving them the authority and funds to act on behalf of the State and protect vulnerable properties from encroaching development, we are putting farmland preservation in the hands of the most qualified preservationists.”

A3207 (Burzichelli/Fisher/Wisniewski/Vas/Lance/Sweeney) Appropriates $52,432,378 from “Garden State Farmland Preservation Trust Fund for farmland preservation purposes.

“New Jersey’s farmland is under siege and proactive steps must be taken to protect it for future generations,” said Assemblyman John J. Burzichelli (D-Gloucester, Cumberland, Salem.)

“The State Agriculture Development Committee is constantly looking to expand New Jersey’s open space program through farmland preservation and acquisition," said Sen. Stephen M. Sweeney (D-Gloucester, Cumberland, Salem.) "Through the Green Acres Farmland Preservation Trust, we are allowing them to accomplish that goal. In districts such as mine, where a majority of the protected open space is preserved farmland, the SADC is a great asset in our efforts to contain overdevelopment.”

Posted by: Staff at
January 26, 2005


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