$157 million for Green Acres projects approved

The Garden State Preservation Trust Wednesday approved the Department of Environmental Protection’s recommended list of $157 million for Green Acres open space acquisition and recreational development projects.

The funding list includes $85.4 million for grants and loans to municipal and county governments for land acquisitions and park developments; $45 million for state Green Acres acquisitions, including land for state parks, forests and wildlife management areas; $14.8 million for nonprofit groups for acquisitions and park developments; and $12 million for funding of Blue Acres acquisitions to move people out of flood-prone areas and create open space.

The latest round of Green Acres funding – which leverages millions of preservation dollars – comes from available money generated by voter approval of a previous bond referendum, supplemented by money from prior projects that were cancelled by the DEP or withdrawn by applicants, DEP stated in a release.

“The open space acquisitions and recreation development opportunities funded by Green Acres are critical to sustaining a high quality of life in the nation’s most densely populated state,” Commissioner Bob Martin said.

The DEP is targeting state acquisition money to expand state parks, forest and wildlife management areas, as well as to purchase privately-owned parcels that are located within the state lands.

Blue Acres money will be used to acquire flood-prone properties throughout the state, including the Passaic River Basin, to help move people out of harm’s way. This money also will be used to leverage Federal Emergency Management Agency grants that are used for the same purpose.

Among the many diverse local and nonprofit projects to be funded include helping a partnership of local and nonprofit groups develop a waterfront park along the Passaic River in Newark’s Ironbound section; improvements to Camden County’s Cooper River Park; renovations to the oceanfront boardwalk in Long Branch; creation of an interpretive center for Mannington Meadows, a sprawling wetlands area adjacent to the Delaware River in Salem County; and acquisition of land to expand a YMCA camp in the Pinelands of Burlington County.

For a complete list of projects and descriptions and more information about Green Acres visit: http://www.nj.gov/dep/greenacres/

  $157 million for Green Acres projects approved