Cherry Hill Township is line to receive a Clean Communities Grant from the state Department of Environmental Protection, state officials announced on May 23.
Per Chief of Staff Erin Patterson Gill, Cherry Hill’s cut of the pie will amount to $157,341.91, an increase of $20,000 from last year’s grant.
“Residents in our community take tremendous pride in protecting and preserving the character and integrity of our neighborhoods and public spaces,” Mayor Chuck Cahn said. “Engaging residents to help keep our neighborhoods clean is just one way to maintain a high quality of life and build pride within our town. The Clean Communities Grant will go a long way in supporting our efforts in Cherry Hill.”
These funds are part of more than $21.5 million in grants being awarded throughout the state in 2019, intended to be utilized for litter cleanups that should improve the quality of life, according to NJDEP Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe.
Per the NJDEP website, these grants are awarded based on population, number of housing units and road mileage. Only seven of the 565 municipalities in the state are ineligible to receive them. Grants are limited based on the availability of funding, with a minimum grant amount of $4,000.
In total, NJDEP is scheduled to award $19.1 million to eligible municipalities and $2.4 million to the state’s 21 counties – an increase of $2.2 million from 2018, resulting from an increase in revenues.
“In addition to being unsightly, litter can have detrimental impacts on water quality, wildlife and natural habitats. “Clean Communities grants provide a vital source of funding for New Jersey’s municipalities and counties. They fund cleanups, many along roadsides and around stormwater collection systems, that will protect water quality and natural resources, improving the quality of life in our communities,” McCabe said in a release.
Cherry Hill is expected to receive the funds some time in late spring or early summer, and they will be used for various projects under the supervision of the Department of Public Works and the Recreation Department.
“We use the grant for cleanup projects within town, which is money given to different community groups for outdoor cleanup projects (neighborhood civic associations, school groups, etc.). They are anywhere between $275 and $1,000, but most are $500,” Gill explained.
The township also intends to use these funds for a variety of trash-related projects, such as litter cleanup around town, creek and stream cleanup, street sweeping, and roadside trash cleanup. According to Gill, money will also be set aside for certain leaf pickup cleanings and storm basin cleanings, while the township also purchases yard waste bags that will be made available to residents, free of charge.