Newark council proposes parks advisory board to oversee $1M fund

By Naomi Nix | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
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on October 29, 2014

In this file photo, members from various environmental groups, urban planners and city officials tour the new section of Riverfront Park, which opened last year

 

NEWARK — Newark's parks may soon be getting a facelift.

The city council agreed to introduce legislation to form a parks advisory board to oversee an estimated $1 million dollar fund to improve the city's parks.

City voters approved a ballot question in November 2013 that levies a one-cent tax per $100 of assessed property value to start an Open Space Trust Fund to build and maintain Newark parks.

Under the measure, an owner of a home worth $200,000 pays about $20 a year, generating about $1.1 million dollars a year for the fund, according to North Ward councilman Anibal Ramos, who proposed the initiative.

“This is a small price to pay for what we would get in return for our investment,” Ramos said in a statement, when the council first agreed to put the fund on a ballot question.

“We can leverage the dollars we raise locally to receive matching funds through the State Green Acres Program as well as county and private funds.”

The fund will be geared toward maintaining the plant life at city parks, preparing the parks for seasonal changes, and helping to insure that trash and recycling pickup occurs regularly, according to the legislation.

On Tuesday, the council agreed to pass legislation establishing a board to oversee the fund onto a second reading and public hearing.

The board would be in charge of soliciting feedback on park maintenance from the public and making recommendations to the city's parks director coordinator of parks and design.

The proposed legislation would give both the city council and the Mayor's office a hand in picking representatives for the nine-member board, according to the legislation.

The board would include two youth representatives. The positions will be unpaid, but will be filled by representatives from every ward.

The measure is scheduled to appear at the next council meeting in November.

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