June 11, 2009

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New Jersey’s support for historic preservation has been especially strong since the 1980s. Through the New Jersey Historic Trust, more than 70 million dollars have been invested and hundreds of buildings having been restored throughout the state. Funding for the valuable programs provided by the Trust and open space are expiring and are in jeopardy under the current effort to settle upon upcoming fiscal year’s budget which begins July 1. The work to complete this budget is coming to a close quickly- well before the July 1 deadline. NJHT’s funding has meant much to architects, engineers, contractors, non-profit organizations and local governments.

The “Keep It Green” Campaign, http://njkeepitgreen.org/ , has been spearheading the effort to make sure that both open space and historic preservation funding remain in place by supporting the Garden State Preservation Trust (which, in turn, provides funding to the Green Acres program and the NJ Historic Trust).

The last hope for continued funding for the Garden State Preservation Trust is to have a Public Question appear on the ballot this coming November. If we cannot get the Assembly Approps Committee and Senate Budget Committee to first hold hearings on the question, and then hold floor votes, there will be no NJ Historic Trust funding mechanism enacted this year. Period.


With the help of AIA National, you will be able to send a message directly to your state representative with the AIA Advocacy Center. Click this link to connect to this important issue – today.


Call/and or email the legislature leadership below TODAY and tell them that you support the BOND ACT that would be asked as a PUBLIC QUESTION for CONTINUED FUNDING for the GARDEN STATE PRESERVATION TRUST under consideration and that you want hearings scheduled in the Assembly and Senate ASAP.

Barbara Buono, Chair. Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee (732) 205-1372 SenBuono@njleg.org
Dick Codey, President, State Senate (973) 731-6770 SenCodey@njleg.org

Nellie Pou, Chair, Appropriations Committee Chair (973) 247-1555 AswPou@njleg.org
Joe Roberts, Speaker, General Assembly (856) 742-7600 asmroberts@njleg.org


New Jersey’s voters deserve a choice in November to continue supporting open space and historic preservation funding! The Garden State Preservation Trust is effectively empty, and without renewed funds, the State’s efforts to support the acquisition of open space, natural areas, parks, farmland and historic areas will grind to a halt. The many municipal and private projects that count on state matching would slow to a trickle. Before the legislature recesses in June, I urge you to approve A3901/S1858, which would let voters decide whether to give the state the ability to issue up to $600 million in bonds for three years of open space investment.

Continued funding for the acquisition of open space an capital improvements in historic sites is extremely important to our residents’ health, quality of life and our economy. Our natural areas help purify our water and clean our air. They provide diverse recreation opportunities, and habitat for our rich web of wildlife. They help protect against soil erosion, stormwater runoff and flooding. Urban parks are vital to the well-being of adults and children alike, and can be counted among the ways to help address the high incidence of childhood obesity and asthma. Preserving farmland helps us secure local sources of healthy food and keeps us connected with our land, while historic preservation improves the character of our neighborhoods and our access to exciting and interesting places.

Investing in open space also stimulates job creation. For instance, the Rutgers Center for Urban Policy Research found that $1 million spent in rehabilitating an older building creates nearly 30 jobs, which is more than new construction and employs a greater diversity of professionals because rehabilitation requires more specialized skills. New Jersey’s tourism industry, at $38 billion per year, gets a significant boost from our open space investments. And wildlife-related recreation alone generates approximately $3.9 billion in economic activity each year in NJ. What’s more, acquiring land from willing sellers at today’s reduced prices affords opportunities for the buyers and sellers alike.

Failure to renew the Garden State Preservation Trust would be a terrible missed opportunity. Once lost, these lands and historic treasures are lost forever. Allowing New Jersey voters to make their own choice to support renewal of the GSPT in November is the right thing to do.

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