WEST ORANGE, NJ – A $182,100 Green Acres grant was recently awarded to the Township of West Orange to be used toward the improvement of Lafayette and Degnan parks.

The grant from the 27th District Legislative Team of Governor Richard Codey, Assemblywoman Mila Jasey and Assemblyman John McKeon is part of $80.7 million announced by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Green Acres Program for local governments and nonprofit land trusts to acquire open space, develop parks, and perform stewardship activities on parks throughout New Jersey.

"Here in West Orange, we feel such a great sense of pride in our parks," said West Orange Mayor Robert Parisi. "As a result of this grant, the township is able to move forward with new volleyball and futsal courts at Lafayette and planned improvements at Degnan."

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McKeon, a former mayor of West Orange, said that preserving and remaking West Orange parks has “a major impact on the quality of life for our residents." He added that the Legislature worked hard to get funding approved, and that the voters overwhelmingly supported the initiative.

“This grant is great news for our residents, and demonstrates the kind of projects our open space funding helps to make possible,” said McKeon. “I congratulate the town council and especially Mayor Parisi on the grant award, which will improve the quality of life for all residents in town."

Jasey said that open space provides “invaluable opportunities” for 27th District residents to enjoy active and passive recreation. She also said these towns put “tremendous thought and effort into insuring the best use for open space funding money they receive.”

“I am thrilled that West Orange will have this funding available to make their projects reality, as scarcity of municipal dollars makes it virtually impossible to go it alone,” she said.

Funding comes from the Preserve New Jersey Act (P.L. 2016, C12), the enabling legislation for funding approved by voters in 2014, as well as loan and interest repayments, interest earnings, and previously approved projects that did not come to fruition.

"I'm glad to see that West Orange has been awarded this open space funding," said Governor Codey. "Open space funding is an important tool for our communities as it helps slow down development, preserve the character of the town and build or expand parks.”

Codey also expressed his confidence that the residents of West Orange will be well served by this grant.