August 20, 2007

CONTACT: Wayne Avery, (908) 527-4742
               Sebastian D’Elia, (908) 527-4419


Third Round brings contribution total to $1.5 million

The Union County Open Space, Recreation and Historic Preservation Trust Fund is currently distributing applications for the “Preserve Union County 2007 grant program, which is designed to help preserve historic sites and architectural gems in Union County.

The program was originally one of Freeholder Deborah Scanlon’s initiatives while Chairman in 2003. The Freeholder Board that year distributed approximately $500,000 in matching funds which were used to purchase and refurbish 12 historic sites across the county. Another round of grants followed in 2005 with an additional $500,000 grant which helped nine historic sites.

The current application period began on July 19, 2007 and will conclude on Monday, September 17, 2007, with $500,000 being made available. “Preserve Union County 2007” will accept applications for projects that include the acquisition, stabilization, rehabilitation, restoration and/or preservation of historic sites by County, municipal and qualified non-profit historic preservation organizations.

“It is important for us to preserve historic sites here in Union County so that future generations have a link to the past,” said Union County Freeholder Daniel P. Sullivan, who also serves as Chairman of the Union County Open Space Recreation and Historic Preservation Trust Fund. “While we continue to build for the future, we will continue to preserve our past”.

All sites must be listed on the New Jersey register of Historic Places or certified by the Department of Environmental Protection, Historic Preservation Offices as eligible for listing on the register.

All grant recipients must agree to place the subject site on the National and/or New Jersey Registers of Historic Places, if not currently listed. If the site is not listed on the New Jersey Register of Historic Places or has not received a Determination of Eligibility from the New Jersey Preservation Office, information concerning the site and pending designation must be submitted to the Office of the Trust Fund. Certification of Eligibility must be received and submitted to the County as a condition of program eligibility.

All Work undertaken must conform to the Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties adopted by the Secretary of the Interior.

All applications will be reviewed by the Union County Open Space, Recreation & Historic Preservation Trust Fund Public Advisory Committee and are subject to final approval by the Freeholder Standing Committee in addition to a vote by the full body of the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders.

Applications can be requested by calling (908) 558-2277 or by visiting the Office of Open Space, Recreation and Historic Preservation on the sixth floor of the Union County Administration Building in Elizabeth.

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.

When the trust fund was established in 2001 by the Freeholder Board, officials set a goal of preserving 100 acres within 10 years. But because of the support of municipalities and individual landholders, the fund has surpassed its goal, with more than 313 acres already preserved.