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Vote Yes on Jersey City Public Question 2

Establishment of a Local Open Space Trust Fund

On Election Day, November 8, 2016 the voters of Jersey City will have a lot to consider both on a National and local level through a series of very important ballot questions.

The Jersey City Parks Coalition has advocated for the creation of a Municipal Open Space, Recreation and Historic Property Preservation Fund to create dedicated funding for our municipal parks, open spaces and preservation of our historic resources. It is a non-binding referendum which means the City is gauging the residents’ willingness to pay a small amount of money directed specifically to improve, repair, develop and acquire open space and parks and the preservation of historic structures.



Should the Municipal Council of the City of Jersey City establish a Municipal Open Space, Recreation and Historic Property Preservation Fund, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:12-15.7 to be funded at a rate not to exceed $0.02 per $100 of assessed valuation of each annual tax levy commencing with the first tax quarter for calendar year 2017 and used exclusively for the acquisition, development and maintenance of lands for recreation, conservation and historic purposes?

Much like what’s being proposed here, Hudson County voters approved a countywide open space trust fund in 2003 that is expected to bring in $20 million this year (that tax is one cent per $100 of assessed value). In Jersey City, the fund was used to expand Boyd McGuiness Park, rehabilitate soccer fields at Caven Point, fund the creation of Berry Lane Park and more.

Over the last 10 years numerous Coalition Projects were funded through HC Open Space Funding bringing over $500,000 of improvements to these Jersey City parks and historic sites:

  • Historic – Pershing Field: The America Triumphant statue and the Fourth Regiment Arch were restored
  • Parks – Van Vorst Park: Children’s Sprayground in conjunction with Green Acres Funding
  • Historic – The Historic Harsimus Cemetery: Preservation of the Gate Keepers home/structure
  • Parks – Village Park: The full rehabilitation of the abandoned First Street Park

Since 1988, the United States has seen 2,524 ballot initiatives approving new taxes for open space, according to the Trust for Public Land. 1,902 have passed. As of last November, voters have approved open space trust funds in 237 New Jersey municipalities and all 21 counties. The only municipality in Hudson County with its own open space trust fund is Hoboken, approved by voters in 2007. The ballot initiative was passed 62 to 38 percent. The two-cents-per-$100 tax led to an expected $2.24 million this year.

To levy the tax after voters have approved a ballot question, the county or municipal governing body must adopt an ordinance that establishes the dedicated tax, sets up a separate trust fund to hold the tax proceeds, and states the purposes for which they may be used, as proposed in the ballot question. Full public disclosure and a review of all expenditures would be required and only used for identified purposes. Another advantage would be that the City becomes eligible for a greater match of funds through the State Green Acres program and other public & private sources maximizing the City’s investment.

A YES vote assures that in the future old and dying trees in our parks will be readily replaced, park equipment will be repaired quickly and updated periodically, parks will be kept safe and usable for everyone. There will even be funds available for historic preservation of significant Jersey City structures and sites. It’s up to you. Make certain to vote on November 8th and let’s keep Jersey City parks and historic sites the best they can be for many future generations.



Jersey City Parks Coalition City of Trees 2016 Tree Give Away

The Jersey City Parks Coalition (JCPC) intends to distribute 150 FREE trees to the residents of Jersey City from a 2016 Tree Giveaway Award from the Alliance for Community Trees. This opportunity is made possible through a partnership with CSX Transportation and the Arbor Day Foundation. The JCPC was one of 12 organizations chosen nationwide to accomplish one of the City of Trees goals, including residents planting and caring for trees on their own property.

In partnership with the City of Jersey City, New Jersey City University, Rutgers Cooperative Extension, New Jersey Tree Foundation and the most essential component; an army of passionate and trained residents called the Jersey City Tree Lovers Crew (JCTLC); the Jersey City Parks Coalition plans to plant 5,000 trees over the next five years leading up to the year 2020 as part of their City of Trees Program.

The free tree is provided to the applicant after participation in one of the tree care workshops scheduled for what the JCPC is dubbing Octreeber, a month long celebration of tree awareness and planting events. The workshops will be held on the following dates and locations: Saturday, October 1st at the Bethune Center, Sunday, October 9th at Harsimus Cemetery, Sunday, October 16th at the Riverview Farmer’s Market. All workshops are from 10 am – 11:30 am.  Admission is free and open to all residents wishing to know how to care for the trees that they already have.

Other Octreeber events include: An Open Tree Map pilot mentoring program with NJCU students and Innovation High School, mapping trees in one square block; Bayside Neighborhood Association in partnership with the NJ Tree Foundation and TD Bank will be planting 30 trees in and around Bayside Park and Goldman Sachs, our education and engagement sponsor, will be holding a reception at the end of the month for the unveiling of their Annual Student Art Project Exhibit: City of Trees, an artist-led creative program that engages young Jersey City artists in a wide variety of fun activities and artistic disciplines to help inspire their love of the arts. For full details on these events, the workshops and the FREE tree giveaway application visit


August 15, 2016: Two Hudson County Municipalities Receive Forestry Grants from the DEP.

A pair of Hudson County municipalities are receiving state grants for the preservation and promotion of forestry, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection announced.

Secaucus and Jersey City are among the 32 municipalities statewide awarded $1.5 million to promote stewardship of community forests and trees through the implementation of Community Forestry Management Plans.

Jersey City was granted $300,000 – the maximum amount given to individual towns – while Secaucus was granted $30,000, a spokeswoman from the DEP said. 

“Active stewardship by our local governments, community volunteers and partners through these urban and community forestry projects is one of the most critical ways to ensure residents across New Jersey will see healthier and more sustainable forests,” John Sacco, assistant director of the State Forest Service, said in the release.

More info: CLICK HERE

July 14, 2016 – ‘City of Trees’ Looks To Green Concrete Jungle

…[T]he realities of urban living often create the need for great public greenery. Be it in a house, an apartment, a condo or a loft, many city dwellers are putting emphasis on being near parks and green space, a trend one local group is hoping can help make Jersey City’s parks the best that they can be.

The latest effort, dubbed City of Trees, is the brainchild of the Jersey City Parks Coalition. Founded in 2004 and made up of twenty neighborhood and open space groups, the Coalition spearheaded the 2011 Big Dig Project, which was undertaken in October that year and continued through 2014. The effort saw the group distribute and plant over 238,000 daffodil and tulip bulbs, one of the largest local beautification projects ever in Jersey City.

More info: CLICK HERE

April 22, 2016 – Ambitious Jersey City Parks Coalition plan is tree-rific!

The Jersey City Parks Coalition announced plans today to plant 5,000 trees across the city over the next five years.

Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop joined the vice president of the coalition, Mory Thomas, in a press conference at City Hall to announce the “City of Trees” initiative. The city has committed $60,000 for each year of the five-year project. The first phase of the project, in October, will focus on planting in public parks and open spaces.

More info: CLICK HERE

October 23, 2015 – Mayor Fulop and the Jersey City Parks Coalition Announce BIGGER DIG 2020 Partnership to Plant 2,020 Trees Over Next Five Years.

The BIG DIG just got a whole lot bigger and taller this year thanks to an expanded partnership between Mayor Fulop’s administration and the Jersey City Parks Coalition that will see more than 2,020 trees planted citywide over the next five years.

The Parks Coalition has set as a goal to plant 2,020 trees over the next five years as part of the Bigger Dig 2020, with the first several trees being planted today in Arlington Park. The City has committed $60,000 each year for five years toward the partnership, which in year one will focus on tree planting in city parks and other open spaces.

“Green, open spaces are absolutely essential for any city, which is why we’ve been expanding parks over the past two years,” said Mayor Fulop. “Now, we’re making sure to keep our city beautiful and green with thousands of new trees.”

More info: CLICK HERE

October 26, 2013 – Take BIG DIG pledge and beautify Jersey City, parks coalition says.

The Jersey City Parks Coalition is turning the Oct. 25 national Make a Difference Day into Do-It-Yourself Day.

The organization that works to beautify the city one flower at a time has gone out out annually since 2011 for the BIG DIG project and has planted 136,000 daffodils and tulips in parks, public housing and open spaces throughout the city.

But “this year is different,” said Laura Skolar, president of the Coalition. 

“We are asking our volunteers of previous years and any resident of Jersey City to plant either 25 or 50 daffodils on their own property that the Coalition will provide free of charge,” Skolar said.

More info: CLICK HERE

April 11, 2012 – Jersey City’s ‘Big Dig’ beautification project wins national Make a Difference Day award.

Jersey City’s “Big Dig” has won a $10,000 Make a Difference Day Award from USA Weekend magazine.

The massive volunteer effort spearheaded by the city and the Jersey City Parks Coalition gathered some 600 people last fall to plant 18,000 tulip and daffodil bulbs, plants that are now blooming across the city.

“We are extremely honored to receive this prestigious award and recognition,” Mayor Jerramiah Healy said in a news release. “Make a Difference Day, and particularly the ‘BIG DIG’ project, illustrated the immense value of public-private partnerships and what a positive impact volunteerism can have on a community.”

More info: CLICK HERE