Package of bills appropriating over $200M for historic, farmland preservation clears Assembly

TRENTON – The Assembly approved a package of bills Thursday night that will assist historic and farmland preservation.

* S2859, substituted for A4050, appropriates $45 million from the “2009 Green Acres Fund” and $12 million from the “2009 Blue Acres Fund” for state acquisition of lands for recreation and conservation purposes, including Blue Acres projects. It passed 78-0.

* S2858, substituted for A4051, appropriates $14.8 million from the “2009 Green Acres Fund” and the “Garden State Green Acres Preservation Trust Fund” for grants to certain nonprofit entities to acquire or develop lands for recreation and conservation purposes. It passed 78-0.

* S2857, substituted for A4052, appropriates $84.4 million  from the “2009 Green Acres Fund” and the “Garden State Green Acres Preservation Trust Fund” for local government open space acquisition and park development projects. It passed 78-0.

* S2897, substituted for A4059, appropriates $23.5 million  from the “2009 Farmland Preservation Fund” and “Garden State Farmland Preservation Trust Fund” to the State Agriculture Development Committee for farmland preservation purposes. It passed 77-0.

* S2896, substituted for A4060, appropriates $39 million from the “2009 Farmland Preservation Fund,” “2007 Farmland Preservation Fund,” and “Garden State Farmland Preservation Trust Fund” to the State Agriculture Development Committee for county planning incentive grants. It passed 72-0-1.

* S2895, substituted for A4061, appropriates $23 million from the “2009 Farmland Preservation Fund” and “Garden State Farmland Preservation Fund” for planning incentive grants to municipalities for farmland preservation purposes. It passed 78-0.

* S2894, substituted for A4062, appropriates $8.831 million from the “2009 Farmland Preservation Fund,” “2007 Farmland Preservation Fund,” and “Garden State Farmland Preservation Trust Fund” for grants to certain nonprofit organizations for farmland preservation purposes. It passed 78-0.

* S2898, substituted for A4058, appropriates $10,250,780 from the 2009 Historic Preservation Fund and 2007 Historic Preservation Fund to provide grants for certain historic preservation projects, and appropriates $600,000 from “2009 Historic Preservation Fund” for associated administrative expenses. It passed 75-0.

The passage drew praise from a coalition of groups that champion historic and farmland preservation.

“We applaud the strong, bipartisan support from the Legislature for continuing vital efforts to preserve our land, water and history,” Tom Gilbert, chair of the Keep it Green Coalition, said in a a release today.

The coalition said these bills will direct over $260 million to preservation throughout the state, from protecting sources of clean drinking water in the Highlands, to important wildlife habitat in the Delaware Bayshore, to suburban parks, to urban pocket parks.

The coalition is composed of more than 140 groups around the state.

According to the coalition, most of the funds will be provided under the 2009 Green Acres Bond Act approved by voters.

Package of bills appropriating over $200M for historic, farmland preservation clears Assembly