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Tuesday, February 11, 2003

Levinson Urges Freeholders to Support Full Open Space Funding in 2003

Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson has recommended that the Board of Chosen Freeholders implement the full two cents authorized for open space funding in 2003.

"Open space preservation is a major priority of my administration," Levinson said. "I believe that it is vital that we work to preserve open space and recreational resources for both ourselves and for future generations. Once this land is gone, it may be gone forever."

Levinson stated that the county has made significant progress in acquiring open space for the residents of Atlantic County. "In 2002, Open Space Trust Funds were used to acquire parcels in Galloway and Egg Harbor Townships adding almost 500 acres to our open space inventory," Levinson said. "Our goal is to acquire a minimum of another 500 acres in the coming year."

According to Levinson, over 1,000 acres have already been identified as potential acquisition sites and are actively being evaluated. "To put this in perspective, during the 10 years from 1990 to 2000, we acquired 1,000 acres. Between 2000, the year I took office, and 2003, we acquired 700 acres. In the coming year we hope to acquire 500 additional acres. I think it is fair to say that we have become much more aggressive in our open space acquisition efforts," Levinson stated.

Levinson also stated that he is proposing that 2003 funding for the County's Municipal Open Space Partnership Program be used only for acquisition projects within participating municipalities. "Given the development pressures we are currently experiencing in Atlantic County, it is my strong feeling that all our open space efforts should be directed toward acquisition in the coming year."

For more information contact Dennis Levinson, County Executive, at 343-2201.

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