HOWELL – Municipal officials announced that Howell has been approved for a $750,000 grant from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Preservation Trust Fund for the acquisition of open space under the state’s Green Acres program.
“It is a fabulous thing for the town,” Mayor Theresa Berger said.
Community Development Director Jim Herrman helped lead the effort with his team to secure the grant, according to municipal officials. Notification of the financial award came from the governor’s office and from the DEP.
“We are extremely happy to be successful in obtaining a $750,000 Green Acres
matching grant which will help fund the preservation of desired township properties,” Deputy Mayor Robert Nicastro said.
“These funds are very competitive and very important in helping Howell continue our ambitious initiative to acquire and preserve open space.
“The preservation of open space and farmland remains a top priority of this administration and a key element for maintaining recreational opportunities, a healthy and desirable environment and ecosystem, and a positive balance of open land for the community,” Nicastro said.
Councilwoman Pauline Smith said the $750,000 in grant funds “will be used by the township to acquire additional open space listed in the Howell Township Open Space and Recreation Plan.
“We are very anxious to acquire the Pierce property, which consists of 116 acres and has been identified as environmentally sensitive. The land is near the south branch of Squankum Brook which is now a pristine brook that provides drinking water for many people.
“In addition, the property is across from the Bear Swamp Natural Preserve and will expand this area. The mayor and council would like to thank our staff, professionals and many committee volunteers who participated in this process,” Smith said.