Leading local advocates for parks, playgrounds and green spaces in Newark today launched a campaign to urge voters to support the Nov. 5th City of Newark Open Space and Recreation Trust Fund referendum.
If approved, the measure would authorize the City Council to establish a dedicated fund to acquire, develop and maintain City parks, neighborhood playgrounds, playing fields for youth sports and other green spaces throughout the City.
“Passage of this measure will help the City to create safe, clean and accessible parks, playgrounds and greenspaces that will improve the quality of life for all Newark residents,” said Robin Dougherty, Executive Director of the Greater Newark Conservancy.
The Open Space and Recreation Trust Fund would be supported through a levy of 1-cent per $100 of assessed property value that is expected to generate $1.1 million annually. Every county in New Jersey, including Essex, and more than half of all municipalities have voter-approved funds similar to what is proposed in Newark. In November 2012, East Orange voters overwhelmingly voted to create a new open space trust fund.
“Having local, dedicated funds would help the City to improve, repair and maintain parks, as well as support jobs related to these activities,” said Pamela Daniels, Chair of Newark Citizens for Open Space. “More resources are needed to make safety and other improvements to our parks, and to ensure we can adequately maintain them for the public to enjoy.”
The 2012 Newark Master Plan identified the need to make parks more secure, attractive and enjoyable for people, improve maintenance and programming at existing parks, and expand access to quality open space and recreation in neighborhoods which don’t have enough parks.
Despite numerous new park and playground openings in recent years, Newark still has one of the lowest park acreages per capita of any major city in the country (3.1 acres per 1,000 residents). More than 30% of children under 14 live more than ¼ mile from any park land.
“This measure will provide Newark with safe, clean parks and playgrounds where kids have the space to be kids – helping to keep them from getting involved with drugs, gangs, and criminal activities,” said Elizabeth McGrady, Secretary of the Friends of Nat Turner Park.
Newark Citizens for Open Space will be educating voters throughout the City leading up to the Nov. 5th Election through a variety of outreach efforts to the community. For more information, or to get involved, please visit http://newarkopenspace.weebly.com, ‘Newark For Open Space’ on Facebook, or Twitter @Nwk4OpenSpace.
Citizens urged to vote “Yes” on Nov. 5th