Working for Smart Growth:
More Livable Places and Open Spaces


Capital Park takes leap forward toward realization with $3m appropriation

TRENTON, June 30, 2023— A part of New Jersey’s Fiscal Year 2024 State Budget, $3 million has been allocated to realize an urban park in the shadow of the State House Building. Capital Park, which will one day serve to augment the public amenities of NJ’s historic State House, provides a crucially needed green space in the heart of our state’s civic core. This $3 million for the design and initiation of the park was left out of the $300 million the state budgeted and has already spent making needed improvements to the State House Building since 2018.

A focused campaign led by three notable state nonprofits —New Jersey Future, New Jersey Conservation Foundation, and the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters — articulated the need at budgetary hearings and through meetings with legislators for park funding to be allocated in this budgetary cycle to ensure renovations made to the physical State House building are matched by an investment into the adjacent public space. These groups were joined by hundreds of citizens and dozens of other local and regional groups committed to seeing the Capital Park move forward. Bound by a deep commitment to making New Jersey a more sustainable and accessible place for everyone, advocates continually voiced the benefits of a green space adjacent to our capital building to serve school groups, state workers, the general public, and Trentonians. As part of the campaign, advocates published and circulated an online petition seeking allocation of state funds to this endeavor, garnering over 800 signatures from individuals and organizations who share this sentiment and amplify the demand. These supporters, along with local community members, will be essential participants in shaping the future of this site and delivering an urban park to Trenton.

Allocation of funding in the FY2024 Budget for Capital Park was made possible by the sponsorship of the budget resolution by park champion Senator Shirley Turner. Partners in the State Legislature who joined Sen. Turner’s call for investment include Senators Troy Singleton (D-7), Bob Smith (D-17), Vin Gopal (D-11), Gordon Johnson (D-37), Brian Stack (D-33), Teresa Ruiz (D-29), Andrew Zwicker (D-16) and their partners in the lower house, Assemblymembers Verlina Reynolds-Jackson (D-15), Anthony Verrelli (D-15), and Joe Danielsen (D-17).

Peter Kasabach, Executive Director, New Jersey Future, states:

We applaud Governor Murphy and the legislature for their commitment to the Capital Park and for appropriating the necessary funds to get it designed and started. We all envision a new urban park that will provide a healthy, active, and vibrant green space behind the Capitol building for the public to access and enjoy. This is a big step forward for Trenton’s downtown, and will be remembered in the future as a crucial early step in the continued revitalization of Trenton.

Jay Watson, Co-Executive Director, New Jersey Conservation Foundation, states:

It’s very exciting to see our legislature make this incredible investment in our capital city. We are now a step closer to bringing the long-awaited plans for Capital Park to fruition. Besides the environmental benefits and great value it will bring to downtown Trenton, the park will provide high-quality green space that countless New Jerseyans and visitors will enjoy. What a great way for this legislature to cap off the State House restoration and leave this wonderful legacy for the people.

Allison McLeod, Public Policy Director, New Jersey League of Conservation Voters, states:

We’re thrilled the state is investing in the Capital Park right here in Trenton to provide outdoor recreation and relief from heat island effects for the thousands of New Jerseyans who live in and visit our capital city. For far too long, urban communities in the state have largely been left out of preservation efforts. In addition to providing equitable access to green space, the Capital Park will help provide the associated physical and mental health benefits, stormwater management, economic gains, and other benefits in communities with parks. We thank Senator Turner and our leaders in Trenton for their commitment to making the Capital Park a reality.

Sean Jackson, Executive Director, Isles, Inc., states:

It was gratifying to see the overwhelming support for the Capital Park from all sectors and all across the state of New Jersey. The Capital Park beautifies and enhances the safety of our State Capital complex; the park’s open space, natural systems, and trees help to counter the climate impacts that are already more intense in our cities. This effort starts the process of reconnecting Trenton to its riverfront, which will create both natural spaces and economic development opportunities. It’s a win for visitors to Trenton as well as the city’s residents.

© New Jersey Future, 16 W. Lafayette St. • Trenton, NJ 08608 • Phone: 609-393-0008 • Fax: 609-360-8478

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