(The Center Square) – New Jersey officials want to spend more than $100 million on local park improvement projects across the state.
The investment is part of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s Green Acres Program, an initiative created in 1961 “to meet New Jersey’s growing recreation and conservation needs.” The proposed funding is pending approval by the Garden State Preservation Trust, which will forward its recommendations to state lawmakers for approval.
“From our incredible Green Acres investments in local parks, to our historic investments in the restoration of natural resources throughout the state, including at Liberty State Park, our Administration has put its money where its heart is,” New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Shawn M. LaTourette said in an announcement.
The proposed funding includes $54.5 million for improvements in state parks, forests and wildlife management areas; $42.2 million in grants and loans for 49 park development projects in urban, suburban and rural communities; and $38.4 million for the state to acquire and preserve open space.
“Everyone in New Jersey deserves quality parks and recreation facilities that give children places to play, help connect us to nature, improve our physical and mental health, and enhance quality of life, especially in our most vulnerable and overburdened communities,” Martha Sullivan Sapp, director of the Green Acres Program, said in an announcement.
According to a news release, more than 20% of New Jersey’s land is dedicated to parks and wildlife, more than any other state in the continental United States.