Case Studies

The Trust for Public Land Action Fund has helped win ballot measure campaigns to fund land conservation and parks all around the country. Working with the Conservation Finance team of our affiliate The Trust for Public Land, we have helped towns, cities, counties, special districts, and states pass more than 525 ballot measures since 2000. Following are case studies of successful ballot measures:

Newark, New Jersey

Open Space & Recreation levy

Newark has added and upgraded a number of neighborhood playgrounds and parks in recent years. But in a city where some neighborhoods still lack parks, this work was hampered by the lack of a dedicated source of public park funding.  In 2013, 84 percent of the voters approved a property tax levy that generates $1.1 million a year for the Newark Open Space & Recreation Trust Fund. The measure will ensure that the new parks receive enough funding to remain important community resources for years to come. Read the NEWARK CASE STUDY.

Tigard, Oregon

Open Space, Clean Water and Parkland bond

Leaders in this fast-growing Portland suburb were discouraged when a 2009 ballot measure to fund new parks and open space failed by only 509 votes. But rather than abandon the effort, Tigard leaders came back with a new measure based on a clearer understanding of voter priorities—and ballot language that showed how funding would achieve those priorities. Passage in 2010 of the $17 million Bond to Acquire Open Spaces, Protect Clean Water, Improve Parklands has already funded the preservation of 108 acres for parkland. Read the TIGARD CASE STUDY.

Beaufort County, South Carolina

Rural and Critical Lands bond referendums

Established by the voters in 2000 and renewed in 2006 and 2012, the Beaufort County Rural and Critical Land Preservation Program has protected more than 20,000 acres of farmland, maritime and bottomland forests, cultural sites, salt marshes, beaches, and tidal creeks in this rapidly developing coastal county south of Charleston. Read the BEAUFORT COUNTY CASE STUDY.

Gallatin County, Montana

Open space bonds

To protect sweeping vistas of rangeland and mountains and a deep agricultural legacy, voters passed bond measures in 2000 and 2004 to create and fund the county’s Open Lands Program. The program has led to the protection, through conservation easements, of 33 ranches and farms totaling 400,000 acres, and the creation of a 100-acre park.  Read the GALLATIN COUNTY CASE STUDY.

Minnesota

Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment

It took nearly ten years to construct a measure with enough support that the legislature would put it on the ballot. Passed with 56 percent of the vote in 2008, the amendment increased the state sales tax by 0.375 percent for 25 years and divided the increased revenue into four dedicated funds: for clean water; parks and trails; arts and culture; and habitat restoration, protection, and enhancement. Read the MINNESOTA CASE STUDY.