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CNBNews June 2020 CHEERS & JEERS

Jersey City Council Supports Liberty State Park Protection Act


The City Council of Jersey City has unanimously passed a resolution that supports the Liberty State Park Protection Act, or A2189 (Mukherji). The bill establishes the Liberty State Park Advisory Committee and requirements concerning DEP actions related to Liberty State Park. The Park, which is the terminal to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, has more than 7 million visitors a year and is one of the most visited state parks in the country. 


 “Jersey City once again has stood up for Liberty State Park and called to protect it for future generations. They passed a resolution supporting the Liberty State Park Act. This is a park that represents both The Statue of Liberty and the gateway to our country. Billionaire Paul Fireman just yesterday said he would stop trying to expand his Millionaire’s Golf Course onto Caven Point, but he could come back. People like him keep coming back. Right now there’s a lot of opposition, so he may wait awhile. That is why we need this legislation and why we need to stay vigilant,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “Now that Fireman isn’t expanding his golf course, will he now drop his opposition to the Act which he helped block in the Assembly. There has been attempt after attempt to privatize Liberty State Park. This is one of the most visited state parks in the country. It needs permanent protection, especially areas like Caven Point. We thank Jersey City for passing this resolution.”


The bill would prohibit the DEP from considering any proposal to commercialize, develop, or privatize Liberty State Park, except as provided in the bill.  The bill would prohibit any concession, conveyance, or lease within the 235-acre natural restoration area in the interior of Liberty State Park, and at Caven Point Peninsula.  


“We need this protection act because we have been fighting to protect Liberty State Park from privatization for decades. We have fought against luxury hotels, private marinas, shopping centers, golf courses, Grand Prix races, a cricket stadium, a waterpark, and many more. This legislation is even more important now because of the park privatization language that was snuck into the state budget bill. This would allow private entities to lease Liberty State Park. We have been fighting threat after threat for almost 50 years. Until we get an act like this passed, there will always be a new threat,” said Jeff Tittel.  “This park belongs to all of us, not to private developers. We need this legislation because we still have to be careful. Privatization language was snuck into the state budget bill, putting Liberty State Park and all other parks at risk. 


The bill would also require the DEP, within three years after the bill is enacted into law, to develop a management plan for Liberty State Park in consultation with the committee.


“We have been fighting for decades to stop privatization and development of Liberty State Park, and this bill will help further that fight. This legislation will ensure that Liberty State Park remains a place for the people of New Jersey to enjoy the outdoors There can still be leases or concessions that could take place at the park but there will be public oversight and public process and they will have to go to a committee for approval. This will help protect the park from abuse and projects that would hurt, rather than compliment it,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “Now that Jersey City has passed this resolution, the Legislature needs to step up. The Senate and Assembly need to get this bill to Governor Murphy’s desk this year to make sure that the park that is named after the Statue of Liberty belongs to all of us and stays open to all of us.”