Essex County News

NJ Keep It Green Campaign and Essex County Leaders Meet to Urge Voters to Vote, “Yes,” On Public Question 2 for Clean Water, Parks, Farms, and Open Space

NJ Keep It Green Campaign and Essex County Leaders Meet to Urge Voters to Vote, “Yes,” On Public Question 2 for Clean Water, Parks, Farms, and Open Space Credits: Jennifer Coffey

TRENTON, N.J. – Today, a news conference presented by NJ Keep It Green that highlighted one of over 1,100 parks made possible by New Jersey’s Green Acres program was held at the Essex County South Mountain Recreation Complex. Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr., Governor Richard J. Codey, Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto, Assemblyman John McKeon, Assemblywoman Mila Jasey and other leaders were on hand for the event, which also urged voters to Vote, “Yes,” on Public Question 2 on Election Day.

Public Question 2 asks voters to dedicate existing state funds to protect clean water and ensure that future generations continue to have access to parks, open spaces, farmland and historic treasures. The funding requested will replenish the now-depleted Green Acres, Blue Acres, farmland and historic preservation programs, and continue funding to improve water quality, remove and clean up underground storage tanks, and clean-up polluted sites.

It also ensures stable funding for the preservation and care of open space, parks, farmland, historic sites and flood-prone areas by reallocating four percent of existing corporate business tax revenues, which are already dedicated to environmental programs through fiscal year 2019, and dedicating an additional two percent of existing corporate business tax revenues from fiscal year 2020 going forward.

Sign Up for E-News

This event was the last in a series highlighting parks, waterways, farms and open spaces around the state that have been protected thanks to state preservation programs. According to the Keep it Green Campaign, support for Question 2 has been in an upswing as Election Day draws near, with recent endorsements from Govs. Thomas Kean, Brendan Byrne, and Christine Todd Whitman; Newark Mayor Ras Baraka; Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop; Jersey City Council; The New York Times; The Star-Ledger; The Philadelphia Inquirer; Asbury Park Press; Courier-Post; The Times of Trenton; Burlington County Times, Hunterdon County Democrat and other leading media outlets.

“A Yes vote on Public Question 2 is a Yes vote for clean water,” said McKeon, co-sponsor of legislation to refer the measure to the ballot. “Not only do our parks, farms and open spaces add to the quality of life we value in New Jersey, but they also contribute billions of dollars to our local and regional economies. Public Question 2 dedicates funding to protect our land, air and water without raising taxes. It’s a win all around.”

According to a press release from the Keep it Green Campaign, open space, farmland and historic preservation programs received an average of $200 million annually under the 1998 Garden State Preservation Trust.  Under the ballot question, preservation programs would receive approximately $71 million annually the first four years, and then $117 million annually thereafter, providing reduced but critical baseline funding without raising taxes. In addition, it provides for approximately $30 million annually to go toward providing programs to improve water quality, remove underground storage tanks before they leak, and clean up polluted sites.

And for the first time ever, there is a provision for stewardship requiring some funds to go toward helping take better care of the parks and natural areas New Jersey already has. It will also fund critical repairs, restoration and improvements to parks, natural areas and lakes, rivers and streams across New Jersey, which will make easier for the public to visit and enjoy them.

In addition according to a report by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, more than 650,000 acres still need to be preserved to protect natural and water resources and to provide outdoor recreational opportunities to a growing population. Also, according to the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, at least an additional 350,000 acres of farmland must be preserved to maintain a viable agriculture industry.

“I am voting Yes on Public Question 2 for the future of our children and grandchildren,” said Codey. “Without the basic funding Public Question 2 provides, our water, parks, farms, open spaces and historic treasures are at risk, and make no mistake, once they are gone, they are gone. We can never get them back.”

So far, the Green Acres program has funded at least 200 open space acquisitions and park projects throughout Essex County including improvements to the South Mountain Recreation Complex, as well as Essex County Veterans Memorial Park, Essex County Kip’s Castle Park and the Essex County Presby Memorial Iris Gardens.

“Essex County should be commended for its commitment to ensuring children and families have access to parks and a wide range of recreational opportunities that Green Acres supports,” said Kelly Mooij, coordinator of NJ Keep It Green. “New Jersey residents have an opportunity to make their voices heard by going out to the polls and voting Yes on Public Question 2 to protect our drinking water, support our parks, preserve our farms and safeguard our historic treasures.”

“Every one of our parks in Essex County has been renovated or redone over the past 12 years with the help of the state Green Acres program,” said DiVincenzo. “The only way that we will be able to continue the good things we are doing with our park system, protect the quality of life we enjoy and preserve our natural resources and open spaces is if people in Essex County, and across New Jersey, vote Yes on Public Question 2 on Election Day.”

NJ Keep It Green is a coalition of more than 185 park and conservation organizations working to create a long-term, dedicated source of funding for the preservation and stewardship of New Jersey’s natural areas, waterways, parks, farmland and historic sites. NJ Keep It Green led successful campaigns to pass statewide ballot measures in 2006, 2007, and 2009 generating $600 million for state open space, farmland and historic preservation programs.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News


Local Children Invited to Register for Essex County Summer Camps

February 19, 2018

WEST ORANGE, NJ – Children of all ages are invited to participate in spring and summer camp opportunities at the Essex County Turtle Back Zoo, Essex County Codey Arena and the Essex County Environmental Center.

The zoo has several weeklong camp adventures that will introduce children to the extraordinary world of animals, nature and science. Campers and their parents/guardians are ...

How Do I Decide Which College to Attend?

Now that college acceptances are rolling in, how do I decide which to attend?

Your hard work in high school has paid off. You took your SAT/ACT exams, got the best grades you could, and filled out as many applications as you needed to. Acceptance letters are starting to come in and you need to make a decision on where you will go in the fall. It's hard to decide!! Here are some tips and ...

NJ Governor Signs Executive Order to Fly Flags at Half-Staff to Recognize Parkland Florida Victims

February 20, 2018

New Jersey Governor Phillip D. Murphy signed Executive Order No.1 on Monday ordering the flag of the United States of America and the Flag of the State of New Jersey to be flown at half-staff to recognize and mourn the passing of the victims in Parkland, FL.

The order is for all state offices, agencies and municipalities, including schools for Tuesday, Feb. 20.

Upcoming Events


Wed, February 21, 10:00 AM

Estelle Finkel Center for Learning, Livingston

Estelle Finkel Center for Learning Presents ...


Wed, February 21, 6:00 PM

Livingston Public Library, Livingston

Free CASA Essex Volunteer Information Session

Giving Back Law & Justice


Sat, February 24, 4:00 PM

Lobby - Office Building, Livingston

Gun Violence Prevention & Congressional Candidates


Livingston Public Library Prepares for NJ Makers Day

February 12, 2018

LIVINGSTON, NJ — The Livingston Public Library will host its third annual Makers Day on Saturday, March 10. Last year, 350 people attended Livingston Library’s Makers Day and enjoyed a variety of interactive activities ranging from sewing and paper crafts to robotics and circuitry.

Makers Day is a statewide initiative designed to celebrate, promote and introduce ...

Let the Games Begin

I am truly awed by the Olympics.  Watching these superb young athletes on TV inspires me to renew my membership to the gym and pursue my lifelong dream of taking home the gold.  


The problem is that in my deluded head, I can see actually see myself standing atop the podium.  I am wrapped in a puffy designer ski coat with a huge piece of bling slung around my neck ...

In the Driver's Seat

Honey, I am going to take the Roadster out for a quick spin around the sun. I’ll be back in a few million years.


That’s nice dear. While you are out, could you pick up a gallon of milk?


In what has to be the greatest road trip of all time and space, Elon Musk, the visionary inventor, engineer, and billionaire investor loaded his very own red Tesla ...