Camden Voters Approve Open Space Measure (NJ)
Camden, NJ, 11/9/2005: Camden County voters showed overwhelming support for a county referendum to increase by one cent the Open Space, Recreation, Farmland, and Historic Preservation Trust Fund, a measure they passed by an overwhelming 68 percent for to 32 percent against. The measure will provide funding to protect Camden County’s drinking water sources and water quality, improve park safety, and preserve natural areas and open space.
The cost to the average Camden County property owner will be less than $1 a month, yet the increase will generate $2.6 million a year. Over 20 years, an additional $50 million will be available for clean water, safe parks, and open space.
“The county has been very successful at leveraging its funds with funding from state, municipal, and nonprofit sources: more than $1 in matching funds has been raised for every $1 of county funds,” said Camden County Freeholder Jeffrey L. Nash. “This will provide additional funds to protect water quality and to conserve rapidly disappearing open space.”
The measure was supported by The Conservation Campaign, an affiliate of the Trust for Public Land (TPL), a national nonprofit conservation organization.
“The residents of Camden County are winners today as they will now benefit from new parks, clean water, and preserved farmland and historic sites because of their decision to pass this measure,” said Will Abberger, TPL’s associate director of conservation finance. “New Jersey has consistently been a leader when it comes to public funding for conservation. Camden County has wisely leveraged state and local funds with their own funding source, and this measure will allow them to continue the good work they have started.”
The measure was one of 64 land conservation ballot measures considered by voters nationwide on Election Day, when $694 million in new conservation funding was at stake. Earlier in 2005, voters in 66 communities throughout the country approved 57 conservation finance ballot measures, an 86 percent approval rate. TPL’s searchable LandVote Database is the premier source of information about state and local conservation finance measures nationwide (www.tpl.org/landvote).
In November 1998, Camden County voters overwhelmingly approved creation of the trust fund. Since 1999, the county has protected more than 960 acres of rapidly disappearing open space and farmland and created new parks for our communities. Thirty neighborhood recreation facilities have been improved and 11 historic sites have been restored. For every $1 from the county trust fund more than $1 has been attracted in matching funds for land preservation.
The County Open Space and Farmland Preservation Plan set a goal of preserving at least 2,000 acres by 2010. Emphasis will be placed on land that is threatened by development and land that protects drinking water sources and the water quality of rivers, lakes, and streams. Funds will also be used to preserve working farms in Camden County.
The Trust for Public Land is a national nonprofit land conservation organization that conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, and natural areas, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. Since 1972, TPL has helped protect more than two million acres of land in 46 states, including more than 23,000 acres in New Jersey.