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Assembly Grants Final Approval to Conaway & Singleton Bill to Purchase Flood-Prone Properties in 7th Legislative District

Measure Also Appropriates Funding for Open Space Preservation in Burlington County

(TRENTON) – The General Assembly on Monday granted final legislative approval to a bill sponsored by Assemblymen Herb Conaway, Jr., M.D. and Troy Singleton (both D-Burlington) that would help beleaguered towns along the Delaware River in Burlington County’s 7th legislative district deal with repeated flooding issues.

The bill (S-2248/A-3368), which now heads to the Governor’s desk, would appropriate $57 million in voter-approved bond money to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to provide funding for the acquisition of lands for recreation and conservation purposes, including Blue Acres projects, which enable local governments to buy out properties from willing owners that have been besieged by repeated flooding.

“The Green Acres program has been instrumental in helping us preserve our legacy as the Garden State for quite some time now,” said Conaway. “But as our landscape changes, along with the frequency of high intensity storms, the Blue Acres program is becoming equally invaluable. For towns throughout the 7th district struggling to make ends meet while dealing with pressing issues such as this, this funding can make a substantial difference.”

“Green Acres has proven critical in helping to preserve and protect precious open space for both active and passive recreation,” said Singleton. “Given the record flooding that our state has been subjected to in recent years, the Blue Acres program is proving just as critical. I know that towns like Riverside and Delran, in particular, have experienced significant flooding along their border, affecting residents in both towns. I’m grateful that we are able to provide all of the towns in the 7th district with funding assistance to help mitigate these problems.”

Specifically, the bill appropriates $45 million from the “2009 Green Acres Fund,” which is geared towards preserving lands for recreation and conservation purposes. Additionally, the bill appropriates $12 million from the “2009 Blue Acres Fund,” which was designed to provide funding for the acquisition of properties that are prone to or have incurred flood or storm damage, or that may buffer or protect other lands from such damage.

The following 7th legislative district towns along the Delaware River are slated for Blue Acres funding for property acquisition under the bill: Beverly, Bordentown City, Bordentown Township, Burlington City, Burlington Township, Cinnaminson, Delanco, Delran, Edgewater Park, Fieldsboro, Florence, Moorestown, Mount Laurel, Palmyra, Riverside, Riverton and Willingboro.

Additionally, the following 7th district towns/projects are slated for Green Acres funding under the bill:

  • Crosswicks Creek Watershed – Bordentown City, Bordentown Township;
  • Rancocas Creek Greenway – Cinnaminson, Delanco, Delran, Moorestown, Mount Laurel, Riverside, and Willingboro; and
  • Trenton / Hamilton Marsh – Bordentown Township.