Preserve Our Open Space and Farmland
A major 2013 priority and legislative goal this year for the League, for all of our mayors and municipalities, is incorporated in League Resolution No. 2012-04, “Supporting Sustainable State Funding for Preservation and Stewardship of Open Space, Parks, Farmland and Historic Sites in New Jersey.” The Resolution seeks support for the establishment of a long-term dedicated source of state funding beyond the 2009 Bond issue to preserve open space and farmland in our State.
New Jersey has a long, successful and laudable history of preserving open space, parks and farmland. The New Jersey Green Acres program has helped to preserve over 650,000 acres of land and supported more than 1,100 park development projects over the past 50 years, and the State Agricultural Development Committee has preserved 200,000 acres of farmland over the past 30 years. Municipalities have been key partners and direct beneficiaries of these valuable state preservation programs.
Substantial unmet needs and significant worthwhile projects remain for land and water protection, farmland preservation and park development for the health and welfare of our communities and residents. Good land and environmental policy have long term beneficial results.
There are more than 175 organizations around the state in the New Jersey Keep It Green Campaign to advocate for the renewal of state funding for the preservation and stewardship of New Jersey’s natural recreational and historic treasures for generations to come. Underscoring the broad citizen support for this goal, it is noted that in the past 30 years no state ballot measure to fund open space preservation has been defeated. The NJ Senate Environmental Committee is beginning hearings this month on proposals to achieve this goal.
I will be sending out a Letter and Resolution shortly for your consideration and hopeful adoption by your municipal governing body urging our state officials to ensure action this year to put in place a sustainable state source of funding to build on and expand our critical Garden State preservation efforts.