MADISON, NJ - Senator Richard J. Codey, Assemblyman John F. McKeon and Assemblywoman Mila M. Jasey recently presented two checks of $1,267,503.00 and $325,000 to Madison Mayor Robert H. Conley for the acquisition and development of the 49 acre Madison Recreational Center Project on Ridgedale Avenue.
The grants are from the state's Green Acres Program towards the $13 million purchase price of the 49 acres land area.
The check presentation ceremony was held in the Council Chambers at the Hartley Dodge Memorial Building located at 50 Kings Street in Madison.
"The Green Acres grants of $1,267.503.00 and $325,000 represent support from the state for the preservation of open space in Madison through the purchase of forty-nine acres that was slated for an office development. The purchase price of this land was covered through Green Acres funding, Morris County Open Space Funds and Madison’s own open space fund," Mayor Conley said.
"The residents of Madison greatly appreciate the effort of our legislative team in Trenton, Senator Codey, Assemblyman McKeon and Assemblywoman Jasey in securing this grant," Conley added.
"As a former governor, I am aware of the importance of state funding like the Green Acres grants to enable municipalities like Madison to acquire an impressive recreational center that will greatly enhance the quality of life for the Borough's residents and also preserve a valuable tract of land," Codey (D-Essex\Morris) said. "Your legislative team which represents you in Trenton will continue to fight for funding for Madison and for all the municipalities in our district," he added.
The 27th Legislative District lawmakers helped the Township of Madison successfully navigate bureaucratic delays to secure the funding.
"We were glad to help facilitate the release of the funds from the state's Department of Environment Protection (DEP) so that the Borough of Madison could successfully preserve a significant natural treasure that would otherwise have been built over into two commercial office buildings and surface parking. Instead, the 49 acres of open space includes playing fields, hiking trails, walking paths, wooded areas and community gardens, providing a haven for nature lovers and an important recreational outlet for Madison youth," McKeon (D-Essex\Morris) said.
"The preservation of valuable tracts of land and sources of clean drinking water in the nation's most densely populated state needs to continue to be one of our fundamental environmental priorities and is key to our economic viability and quality of life," McKeon added.
"I am gratified that the importance of this acquisition to Madison was recognized and that we could assist in securing the funding to make it a reality. I congratulate Madison on its initiative in seizing a unique opportunity to acquire significant open space for the benefit of the community. The public will be able to enjoy many active and passive recreational opportunities on property which would otherwise have been developed," said Jasey (D-Essex|Morris).
The 49 acres also preserves a significant recharge area for the Buried Valley Aquifer.
A total of an estimated 1.2 million acres of land and an additional 200,000 acres of farmland have been preserved in New Jersey as a result of the Green Acres program and other initiatives, bringing the total land preserved to approximately 1.4 million, that's 29 percent of the state's total 4.8 million acres.
Thirty-one percent of New Jersey is reportedly already developed and the state is facing complete built out within the next generalion, which reinforces the importance of preserving additional open space.