Funding Open Spaces

From the Philadelphia Inquirer:

It’s a question of preserving the state’s future
By Paul Chrystie

In coming months, New Jersey will determine the fate of its parks and open-space programs.

Voters get to make the first decision on Election Day: Ballot Question No. 2 asks them to approve a stable source of funding for improvements, renovations and repairs to state and local parks and natural areas.

The second decision – how and at what levels to fund continued acquisition of open space and the operation, maintenance and stewardship of parks and natural areas – will fall to the Legislature and governor.

Despite state and local preservation funding, New Jersey loses nearly 50 acres of open space a day, according to a Rutgers University study. The state is projected to reach build-out in 25 years.

Ominously, the Garden State Preservation Trust – the state fund set up in 1999 for a 10-year effort to preserve open space – will soon run out of money.

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