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(18TH LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Patrick J. Diegnan and Peter J. Barnes III to support recreation and conservation projects with voter-approved funding for open space preservation was signed into law Wednesday.

The projects include several in Middlesex.

The bill (A-4050) sponsored by Diegnan appropriates $45 million in voter approved Green Acres funding, and $12 million in Blue Acres funding for state acquisition of lands for recreation and conservation purposes, including Blue Acres projects.

Blue Acres funding supports the acquisition, for recreation and conservation purposes, of lands that have been damaged by, or may be prone to incurring damage caused by storms or storm-related flooding, or that may buffer or protect other lands from such damage.

“This funding helps strengthen the ‘garden’ in Garden State, and creates more recreational options for families,” said Diegnan. “The preservation of New Jersey’s open spaces is clearly a priority for residents, and with this bill now law, their mandate will be met.”

The bill (A-4051) sponsored by Barnes appropriates $14.8 million in voter approved Green Acres and Garden State Green Acres Preservation Trust funding for grants to applicable nonprofit entities to acquire or develop lands for recreation and conservation purposes.

“These preservation programs ensure there’s a better balance between development and conservation in New Jersey,” said Barnes. “They help prevent sprawl, protect open space and create recreational opportunities for families, and that benefits every New Jerseyan.”

The bills provide, among other things:

  • $3 million for the acquisition of land for natural area projects, including for Cheesequake State Park in Old Bridge Township;
  • $3 million for the acquisition of land for urban parks in various towns, including Edison Township;
  • $550,000 to the D&R Greenway Land Trust for several greenway acquisition projects, including the Trust for Public Land’s Delaware River Tributaries Acquisition project;
  • $275,000 for the Lower Rahway River project to the National Biodiversity Park, Inc. in Carteret Boro.