The state Department of Environmental Protection will host the first of three information sessions on Nov. 13 for municipalities, counties and nonprofits interested in applying for 2024 Green Acres and Urban Parks grants to preserve open space or develop or update parks.
The 2024 funding round also includes an expanded initiative to fund 75% of the cost of constructing completely inclusive playgrounds accessible to children with disabilities. For the first time, municipalities can apply for inclusive playground grants, which previously were only available to counties. Grants are expected to range from $500,000 to $750,000 for municipalities and up to $1 million for counties.
Green Acres funds for the 2024 application round can be used to establish, expand, or revitalize new and existing parks, acquire land, improve waterfront access, develop athletic fields and playgrounds, create open space, and enhance land stewardship. Non-matching 100 percent grant funding is available for Urban Parks projects that advance recreation, conservation, and historic preservation projects in Adversely Stressed Overburdened Communities in Urban Aid municipalities.
Green Acres and Urban Parks applications are now available on the Green Aces website. The application deadline for both funding opportunities is Feb. 7, 2024.
Green Acres will hold virtual application information sessions on Nov. 13, Dec. 13, and Jan. 17 via Microsoft Teams video conferencing. Details and links can be found on the Green Acres website here.
“New Jersey’s Green Acres Program has a legacy of improving communities throughout the state by ensuring access to green spaces and recreational opportunities that allow people to connect with nature and improve their health,” DEP Commissioner Shawn LaTourette said. “DEP urges local governments and eligible nonprofits to apply for Green Acres funding to expand recreational and open space access statewide, especially in communities long overburdened by environmental stressors.”
“We are proud to announce the launch of our expanded initiative to empower municipalities to create completely inclusive playgrounds.” said Elizabeth Dragon, assistant commissioner for Community Investment and Economic Revitalization. “Building upon the success of our previous county funding, we are now extending our support to local communities, ensuring that every child, regardless of ability, can experience the joy of play.”
Funding for these recreation and conservation projects comes from the DEP’s Green Acres Program, funded by a portion of the revenues from the Corporate Business Tax, and the Urban Parks Program, funded by a state budget appropriation.
To learn more about the Green Acres Program, visit NJGreenAcres.org