2023 Preserve Union County Grant

With the establishment of the Open Space, Recreation and Historic Preservation Trust Fund in 2001, the Commissioner Board created three components of the Trust Fund in order to spend funds, according to State statute. 

This grant was offered again in 2005, 2007, 2009 2011, 2013, 2015, 2017, 2019 and 2021 bringing the total amount awarded through the Preserve Union County grant to over $4,069,053.31

Understanding the need for funding for these important pieces of our history, Trust Fund Chair Lourdes Leon is proud to announce another round of historic preservation grants for 2023.  This year $300,000.00 has been made available for Preserve Union County 2023.

A Service of the Union County Board of County Commissioners

  • Sergio Granados, Chairman
  • Kimberly Palmieri-Mouded, Vice Chairwoman
  • James E. Baker Jr.
  • Joseph Bodek
  • Dr. Angela R. Garretson
  • Bette Jane Kowalski
  • Lourdes M. Leon
  • Alexander Mirabella
  • Rebecca Williams

2023 Commissioners’ Standing Committee

  • Lourdes M. Leon, Chair
  • Dr. Angela R. Garretson
  • Kimberly Palmieri-Mouded
  • James E. Baker Jr.

Public Advisory Committee Members

  • Richard Capac
  • Maria Carvalho
  • Michael DelSordi
  • Charles Eke
  • Arthur Kobitz
  • Jim McManus
  • Edward O’Malley
  • Lisa Palin
  • Janice Siegel
  • Lourdes Leon, Commissioner Standing Committee
  • Edward T. Oatman, County Manager
  • Victoria Durbin-Drake, Director, Parks and Recreation
  • Joseph A. Graziano Sr., Director, Public Works and Facilities Management


  • Edward T. Oatman, County Manager
  • Amy C. Wagner, Deputy County Manager
  • Victoria Durbin Drake, Trust Fund Administrator
  • Angelica Cedeno, Deputy Trust Fund Administrator
  • Bruce H. Bergen, Esq., County Counsel
  • Kevin Campbell, Esq., Trust Fund Counsel


The 341 year history of Union County has produced a wealthy heritage of historic and architecturally significant sites, many of which are in existence today.  These sites represent important historic events, significant individuals, numerous architectural styles and illustrate the craftsmanship of by-gone eras.

In order to help preserve these historic sites, the voters of Union County approved expansion (of the open space and recreation acquisition initiatives to include historic preservation activities and implementation of these objectives) by means of the Union County Open Space, Recreation and Historic Preservation Trust Fund.

Title 40 of the revised New Jersey Statute Annotated permits counties to fund certain historic preservation projects.  These include acquisition and/or restoration of historic sites by county government, municipalities and certain non-profit organizations.

Statute Definition: N.J.S.A. 40:12-15.1.et seq.

  • “Historic preservation” means the performance of any work relating to the stabilization, repair, rehabilitation, renovation, restoration, improvement, protection, or preservation of a historic property, structure, facility, site area, or object;
  • “Historic property, structure, facility, site, area, or object” means any property, structure, facility, site , area, or object approved for inclusion, or which meets the criteria for inclusion, in the New Jersey Register of Historic Places pursuant to P.L. 1970, c268 (C.13:1B-15.128 et seq.).

Program Timelines and Grant Information

  • “Preserve Union County 2023” will accept applications for projects that include the acquisition, stabilization, rehabilitation, restoration and/or preservation of historic sites by County, municipalities and qualified non-profit historic Preservation organizations.  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.
  • Eligible applicants include:
    • Municipal governments within Union County
    • Union County Government
    • Charitable conservancies
    • Historical societies or organizations
  • Eligible properties must be located in Union County, listed on the National or New Jersey Register of Historic Places, or contribute to the significance of a historic district listed on the National or New Jersey Registers.  If not listed in either Register, the property must be certified eligible for listing by the State Historic Preservation Office either as an individually listed site or a contributing site within a historic district. 
  • All work undertaken must conform to the Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties adopted by the Secretary of the Interior.  These regulations must be followed as they are now in effect and as they may be subsequently modified, changed or amended.  These standards are commonly referred to as the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards.  The activities referred to include:
    • Acquisition:  the purchase in fee simple of an eligible property, structure, facility, site, area or object by the County, a municipality or charitable conservancy.
    • Stabilization:  the essential maintenance of a deteriorated facility or object as it exists at present, establishing structural stability and a weather resistant enclosure.  Routine maintenance and cyclical painting projects are not eligible for grant funding.
    • Rehabilitation:  the act or process of making possible compatible use of a property as it appears at a particular period of time by means or removal of features from the restoration period.  Sufficient documentation must be provided to establish historic form and detail
    • Preservation:  the act or process of applying measures necessary to sustain the existing form, integrity and material of a historic property. 
  • The application period will be limited to 45 days, commencing on June 30, 2023 and concluding on August 15, 2023.
  • Grant projects accepted will receive notification through a written grant commitment in the form of a letter from the Office of the Trust Fund.
  • Grantees must adhere to the proposed project timelines.  The grant period commences when contracts are executed by the Office of the Trust Fund and the Union County Law Department.  You will be notified of your specific date obligations.
  • 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 Commissioners Standing Committee in addition to a vote by the full body of the Union County Board of County Commissioners.

Requirement of Matching Funds

  • To be eligible for a grant the applicant shall, as part of the application, show evidence of matching funds in hand or demonstrate clearly the ability to match the grant requested in the application. 
  • Upon receipt of this application, an applicant’s matching share shall consist only of eligible cash and/or grant dollars awarded, raised or eligible expenses incurred by the applicant at the time.  If matching funds have not been spent or are not in hand at the time of application, applicants must describe in detail plans and a timetable for obtaining matching funds.  Failure to obtain matching funds in prescribed timelines will result in forfeiture of funds.
  • Matching Funds derived from grant programs funded by the County shall not be used by applicants as the matching share of the project cost, i.e. County funds may not be used to match County funds.

Grant Application Checklist

The following items should accompany the application via e-mail to Angelica Cedeno, acedeno@ucnj.org or mailed to the Office of the Open Space Trust Fund, Administration Building, 10 Elizabethtown Plaza, 2nd floor, Elizabeth, NJ 07207 after submitting the online application below. Only complete applications will be considered.

  • A resolution authorized by the governing body and the mayor, (if municipal property) approving the grant application and commitment of matching dollars for the proposed project.
  • A completed grant application form(s) enclosed in this packet.
  • A letter of financial commitment from the Chief Financial Officer, or equivalent, indicating that matching funds are available for said project prior to grant dollars being awarded.
  • Certification of Eligibility from the New Jersey Register of Historic Places (if not already listed on the Register)
  • Photographs showing the overall setting of the project property and detailed views of the project areas where work is proposed. Photographs must be labeled with the name of the property, the date and the location.
  • Any research or documentation for work completed and proposed, if applicable for the proposed grant project (historic structure report/preservation plan, structural analysis, archaeological report, historic landscape report and/or other applicable historical research).
  • Available plans, drawings and specifications.
  • Resumes of principal researchers or consultants already selected for the project.
  • Letter from the state Department of Environmental Protection, New Jersey Historic Preservation Office, authorizing the project, if applicable

Conditions of Award

  • All recipients of grant dollars will be required to post signage indicating “Preserve Union County Grant Program. A Service of the Union County Board of County Commissioners. Your Trust Fund Dollars at Work for You!” Signage will be designed and installed by Union County’s Bureau of Traffic Safety and Maintenance.
  • All grant recipients are required to notify the Office of Open Space Trust Fund of any ribbon cutting ceremonies and extend an invitation to the Union County Board of County Commissioners.
  • Joint applications must be fully executed between each party for a stipulated number of years designated in the grant application and approved by the Public Advisory Committee as well as the Commissioner’s Standing Committee. Copies of the Agreement between parties must be provided to the Trust Fund Administrator upon awarding of grant dollars.
  • All recipients will be subject to monitoring visits by the office of the Trust Fund staff. All grant recipients are required to enter into an agreement prepared by the Union County Law Department.

Procedure for Payment

To receive reimbursement, the grantee must submit itemized records, including copies of bills and invoices of eligible expenditures to the County, at times specified in the grant agreement.  The records submitted must itemize the cost of labor and materials and describe the work performed.

Once the Office of the Trust Fund approves the submission reimbursement, funds for the itemized costs will be disbursed by the Department of Finance, with approval of the Union County Board of County Commissioners, to the grantee. 

Online Application – Due no later than Friday, August 16, 2023

Please first review all questions and fields first to ensure you have all the required information ready to provide.