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Northeast Jersey Sees More Investment in Parks and Natural Green Spaces

New Jersey has more space dedicated to parks and nature than any other state. While green areas already account for over 20 percent of land in the state, more than $100 million is to be invested in protecting natural areas, improving existing parks and adding new urban green spaces. From sprawling passive parks to revamped outdoor spaces with facilities for recreational activities, several projects in Northeast Jersey aim to create and preserve more green space despite continued development throughout the region. Even in built up areas, walking trails, parks and landscaped communal gardens will connect communities and enhance local neighborhoods.

Maintaining Green Spaces in the Face of  Development

Despite the pressure on land created by new developments, a conservation foundation in Monmouth works with municipalities throughout the county to create new parks and expand access to existing green spaces and farmland.  In Howell Township, funding has been used to purchase natural tracts of land and several farms, wooded areas and parklands have been successfully protected against large residential developments. Preventing large-scale building projects isn’t always possible, but where new developments are given the go ahead, ensuring that they incorporate landscaped greenery in their design can help to generate new green spaces.  Maintaining commercial grounds in office developments or communal gardens in apartment blocks not only leads to an improvement in the appearance of local communities, but also attracts more business to the area.

Connecting Neighborhoods with a New State Park

An example of this integration of green space with new buildings can be found in Jersey City, where three imposing tower blocks containing over 1,000 residential and mixed use units are currently under construction. While meeting the need for new housing,  the buildings  will only cover just over a third of the land, with over 14,5000 square feet of landscaped open space created on the rest of the plot. Expanding the city’s green space even further, 9 miles of disused rail track from Montclairwill to Jersey City be removed to create cycling and walking trails through a newly created state park. As well as offering an attractive and practical setting for healthy modes of travel, the park will bring previously underserved communities together and provide them with space for a range of recreational activities.

Added Attractions in a Revamped Passive Park

Once a revamp of Columbus Park in Garfield is completed, it is hoped that food trucks stationed in the picnic area will help to attract even more visitors. With funding from Bergen County and the New Jersey Green Acres Program, a new passive park with walking paths will be created, with the added attractions of a bandshell, splash zone and the picnic patio of food trucks.

Although green spaces are already highly valued throughout the state, funding will ensure more natural areas in Northeast Jersey are protected from development. At the same time, improving existing parkland, and integrating green spaces in building projects, will enhance communities in towns and cities.

 

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