The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs’ Division of Local Government Services announced the award of $25 million in Local Recreation Improvement Grants to counties, municipalities, and school districts across New Jersey to ensure public access to quality outdoor space and recreational facilities. The grants were awarded to 352 local governments after a competitive application process.

The New Jersey School Boards Association reviewed the list of award recipients, which includes the local school districts listed below.

EntityCountyDollar Amount
Absecon Public SchoolsAtlantic$70,000
Edgewater School DistrictBergen$75,000
Hasbrouck Heights Board of EducationBergen$65,000
Rutherford Board of EducationBergen$56,000
Park Ridge Board of EducationBergen$60,000
Eastampton School DistrictBurlington$35,000
Bordentown Regional School DistrictBurlington$83,000
Lenape Regional High School DistrictBurlington$71,000
Burlington County Special Services School DistrictBurlington$83,000
Camden County Technical SchoolsCamden$77,000
Audubon Public School DistrictCamden$87,000
Cherry Hill School DistrictCamden$81,000
Collingswood Public School DistrictCamden$50,000
Upper Township School DistrictCape May$65,000
Orange Public SchoolsEssex$86,000
Belleville Board of EducationEssex$85,000
Montclair Board of EducationEssex$75,000
Newark Board of EducationEssex$75,000
Woodbury Heights Elementary SchoolGloucester$73,000
Borough of Clayton Board of EducationGloucester$70,682
Logan Twp BOEGloucester$32,000
Pitman Boro Board of EducationGloucester$75,000
Clinton Township Board of EducationHunterdon$72,000
Princeton Public SchoolsMercer$75,000
North Brunswick Township Board of EducationMiddlesex$70,000
Farmingdale School DistrictMonmouth$71,000
Upper Freehold Regional School DistrictMonmouth$67,000
Shore Regional Board of EducationMonmouth$40,000
Henry Hudson Regional School DistrictMonmouth$74,000
Freehold Borough Public School DistrictMonmouth$71,000
Highlands Elementary School DistrictMonmouth$47,500
Keyport Public SchoolsMonmouth$74,000
Oceanport School DistrictMonmouth$64,000
Long Branch Public SchoolsMonmouth$81,000
Middletown Township Public SchoolsMonmouth$69,000
Eatontown Board of EducationMonmouth$71,000
Keansburg Board of EducationMonmouth$71,000
Atlantic Highlands School DistrictMonmouth$61,624
Randolph Township Board of EducationMorris$65,000
Hanover Park Regional High School DistrictMorris$30,588
Washington Township Board of EducationMorris$70,000
Bay Head Board of EducationOcean$65,000
Toms River Regional SchoolsOcean$71,000
Stafford Township School DistrictOcean$71,000
Lacey Township Board of EducationOcean$70,000
Passaic Board of EducationPassaic$75,000
Paterson Public SchoolsPassaic$75,000
Quinton Township SchoolSalem$66,000
Upper Pittsgrove School DistrictSalem$23,344
Woodstown-Pilesgrove Regional School DistrictSalem$63,000
Somerville Board of EducationSomerset$70,000
Roselle School DistrictUnion$85,000
Summit Public SchoolsUnion$150,000
Township of Union Public SchoolsUnion$84,000
Northern Highlands Regional High SchoolWarren$85,000

“This administration is committed to putting New Jerseyans first in everything we do. Today’s announcement by the Department of Community Affairs shows that we are delivering on that promise,” said Gov. Phil Murphy. “With $25 million in awards to communities across the state, we are investing in the amenities that matter most to our residents – from biking and hiking trails to playgrounds and outdoor facilities – without putting the burden on taxpayers. This is a win for our communities and a testament to the power of partnership in achieving our shared goals.”

“Ensuring public access to recreational opportunities is imperative for people’s mental and physical health,” said Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver, who serves as DCA Commissioner. “For this reason, the Local Recreation Improvement Grant program aims to provide grants to communities in need to help them strengthen and improve their recreational spaces and programs.”

Grant recipients will use the funding to help cover costs associated with updating community centers, playgrounds, pools, fields, walking or bicycle trails, rail trails, multi-sport courts, and recreational facilities. The grants can also be utilized for project development professional services such as engineering and architectural costs; equipment costs including playgrounds or bleachers for stadiums or community theaters; and environmental remediation costs required to prepare recreation sites for use.

A copy of the FY 2023 Local Recreation Improvement Grant Management Guidelines can also be found here.

To qualify for grant funding, applicants had to:

  • Describe the intended use of grant funding for improvement or repair of a specific local recreation site.
  • Identify any previously encountered obstacles to repair or improve the recreation site.
  • Demonstrate their ability to complete the proposed project and provide project management and oversight for all activities and fiscal operations.
  • List key personnel and/or the outside consultant that will be managing the grant funds and proposed project.
  • Provide a cost breakdown of the project.
  • Submit a governing body resolution acknowledging and approving any grant application and the proposed plan or design for the recreation space or community facility for which funding is sought.
  • Certify that the property where improvements will be made is owned by the county, municipality, or school district.

Grant applications were evaluated based on distressed community ranking, financial need, project feasibility, local match commitment and scope of impact.

The Local Recreation Improvement Grants are reimbursement based. There is no advance payment or drawdown of grant funds. Eligible costs are reimbursed to the local government when it submits evidence of payment of qualifying expenses to DCA.