FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 28, 2008

CONTACT: Sebastian D’Elia, 908-527-4419
Tom Plante, 908-527-4746


County Receives $1.6 Million for Open Space

ELIZABETH, NJ – The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders announced today that the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and the Garden State Preservation Trust have awarded the Union County Open Space, Recreation and Historic Preservation Trust Fund a total of $1,650,000 in matching grants to preserve open space in Union County.

Union County will receive a $900,000 Green Acres matching grant for land acquisition and a $750,000 Green Acres matching grant for the Ponderosa Park development project on Cooper Road in Scotch Plains.

Union County purchased the 23-acre Ponderosa Farm in 2003 from the Sevell family for $10 million.

“Preserving open space and improving and expanding local parks are critical components of our efforts to protect our quality of life,” said Freeholder Nancy Ward, Chair of the Freeholder Open Space Trust Fund Committee. “These grants will allow us to continue the progress we have made and ensure that generations to come will enjoy the benefits of open space and public recreation areas.”

Since its inception in 2001, the Union County Open Space, Recreation and Historic Preservation Trust Fund has exceeded its acquisition goal. The initial goal of the fund was to preserve 100 acres of public open space in 10 years. To date, well over 300 acres have been acquired.

The Green Acres Program assists municipalities and counties in the acquisition of open space for recreation and conservation purposes, and the development of outdoor recreation facilities. Program funding comes from the Garden State Preservation Trust, supplemented by varying awards from federal programs such as the Land and Water Conservation Fund.