Jersey City, NJ - The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) held its rescheduled open house at Liberty State Park today. The open house revealed the state’s park-wide revitalization program to restore and enhance natural features; provide active outdoor recreation amenities, add arts, cultural, and community spaces, expand passive recreation opportunities, improve transportation to and within the park, and improve and build resilience to climate change.
The revitalization program will include three different phases. Phase 1A: Cleanup, Restoration, and Resilience, Phase 1B: Immediate Active Recreation, Arts & Culture, and Phase 2: Holistic Long-term Master Plan. The end result of this phased approach will be a Liberty State Park that features active recreational, arts and cultural development across more than 100 acres of its perimeter, and an open space and passive recreational central park at its heart that will provide flood resilience benefits to the surrounding developed features as well as to the host community. Detailed information about the revitalization phases is included on DEP’s Liberty State Park Revitalization Program microsite.
Anjuli Ramos-Busot, New Jersey Director of the Sierra Club, released the following statement:
“The New Jersey Sierra Club is excited to see increased conservation and cleanup efforts for the Park, as well as passive recreation, arts, and community space. It is important that NJDEP’s proposed plans for Liberty State Park have finally been made accessible to the public and surrounding communities. Public input, participation, and involvement is a vital component of a successful revitalization program for a park in the middle of the most populated city in the country.
“For decades, Liberty State Park has been a focal point of major threats from private interest groups wanting to privatize and commercialize this priceless park behind Lady Liberty and Ellis Island. There has been one battle after another, from shopping malls, 18-hole golf courses, water parks to a second large private marina, and now, billionaire Paul Fireman’s attempt to privatize Liberty State Park.
“Being one of the most heavily visited green spaces with 4.5 million visitors per year, more than Yosemite National Park (3.5 million), we must make sure that the LSP belongs to all of us and stays open as a quality of life and public health resource to all of us. It should be preserved for the people in the crowded, concrete areas who are in need of open space, not commercial and private development. Liberty State Park is a prime example of what it means to be an urban state park, functioning both to make nature accessible to people while protecting the environment. It should remain a place for the people of New Jersey to recreate and enjoy the outdoors without a price tag.
“When it comes to active recreation development and building multi-purpose fields, we urge NJDEP to use natural grass turf fields instead of artificial turf. Natural grass turf is safer for the environment, keeps the temperature cooler, and allows for water absorption and drainage. The park should maintain enough parking spaces for park visitors and folks using public transportation.
“NJDEP’s revitalization plans for Liberty State Park is a step in the right direction. It is critical that we can offer a wonderful place of nature for everyone to enjoy while making the area more resilient towards climate change. That means providing a park that includes a balance of both passive and active recreation without private commercial development.”