July 1, 2007

CONTACT: Sebastian D’Elia



Freeholder Board to surpass original goal of 4,000 trees this year through the Open Space, Recreation and Historic Preservation Trust Fund

The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders today announced it is facilitating the purchase of 419 trees through approximately $92,500 in matching Open Space Trust Funds for municipalities as part of its “Greening Union County” initiative.

The grant program is designed to match every municipality
tree-for-tree for which it purchases through the County.
Approximately 12 municipalities are currently participating in the program and have matched the County’s contribution with 420 more trees, bringing the total to be planted Countywide to 839 trees.

Municipal participants in Greening Union County include
Berkeley Heights, Cranford, Elizabeth, Fanwood, Garwood, Hillside, Kenilworth, New Providence, Plainfield, Rahway, Summit, and Union.

“Trees have an incredible benefit to our communities that stretches well beyond their benefit to the environment,” said Freeholder Dan Sullivan, the chairman of the Open Space Trust Fund. “Trees can also bring tourism, attract new business, and keep neighborhoods stable by making commercial and residential areas more attractive.”

The program includes installation by forestry professionals with a
one-year maintenance guarantee. The trees are expected to be planted by the municipalities in the Fall.

The program was originally one of Freeholder Angel Estrada’s initiatives while Chairman in 2004. The County has now helped municipalities plant a total of 4,265 trees through $473,691 in matching funds since then.

The Open Space, Recreation and Historic Preservation Trust Fund, approved by Union County voters in 2000, assesses a levy of
1.5 cents per $100 of total equalized real property valuation for
a period of 20 years. It provides funds to protect open space,
improve parks and recreational facilities and preserve the County's historic treasures.