NJ KEEP IT GREEN – The momentum of New Jersey’s open space preservation program continued Tuesday when the Garden State Preservation Trust (GSPT) unanimously approved $31 million in farmland and historic preservation grant requests.
The recommendations of GSPT, the state agency that directs money to open space, capital projects, park development, blue acres, farmland and historic preservation and stewardship projects recommended by various state agencies, must be appropriated by the Legislature and signed by the governor.
“This action is an important step to move these open space funding requests forward,” said Kelly Mooij, coordinator of New Jersey Keep It Green, a coalition of more than 150 conservation and environmental organizations that have spearheaded New Jersey’s successful preservation efforts. “These funds will give two popular preservation programs the resources they need to continue to preserve farms and historic structures.”
New Jersey voters made history in 2014 by approving permanent funding for open space by dedicating a portion of the Corporation Business Tax to preservation. Approximately $161 million in grants flowed to worthy projects last year, following a two-year lapse. An estimated $46 million will be awarded this year.
GSPT recommended $26 million in farmland preservation grants for land in 18 counties, and that 52 historic preservation projects be awarded a combined $5 million. The restoration projects include churches, monuments, historic homes, and a railroad station.
Recent milestones include preservation of 2,500 farms and the state’s Wildlife Management Area system reaching 350,000 acres.