Clearing Houses

$250 million plan progresses to develop New Jersey’s most-visited state park

TRENTON — Liberty State Park on the Jersey City waterfront, New Jersey’s most-visited state park, could be in for a major years-long overhaul under a bill being advanced in the ‘Legislative Assembly.

The issue of what kind of development to allow or block in Liberty State Park has long been debated and is suddenly gaining momentum, thanks to a bill establishing a task force that would decide its master plan — and providing a quarter billion dollars in seed capital.

Despite a push from advocacy groups, the approach is more permissive than the Liberty State Park Protection Act that was proposed but gained little traction in Trenton.

“A big number, even for Trenton”

Architect Alan Mountjoy of Boston-based NBBJ says the plan cleans up and reopens 235 contaminated acres, adds sea-level rise protections and includes accessible amenities the community has declared in public meetings and investigations it wishes.

These include a community center with an Olympic swimming and diving pool, ice rink tracks, an open-air market, a dozen sports fields under concession, an athletics stadium with 2,500 seats, a 5,000 seat amphitheater/stadium and a waterfront amphitheater in a grass bowl.

“This is a framework for a future world-class park, and it may take some time to get there,” Mountjoy said.

Sen. Brian Stack, D-Hudson, said Liberty State Park is a statewide gem but doesn’t serve as many people as possible because it lacks facilities, ball fields and options transport. The bill calls for $250 million to get started, but much more would be needed, whether through public or philanthropic funds.

“I understand that’s a big number, even for Trenton,” Stack said. “But when you look at the years of neglect, it’s only fair.”

Privatization alert

Sam Pesin, president of Friends of Liberty State Park, said the group hosts the community center and ball diamonds, but not stadiums and concert halls.

“Please don’t waste its future on commercial sites that will destroy the true purposes of the park,” Pesin said.

“I don’t know if any of you have given any thought to how much land this would take up and how much land it would take from the people of the park,” Daniel Burgos of American Legion Post 419 said.

The plan also has its supporters in the community. Jersey City Police Detective Joe Cossolini, who lives half a mile from the park, says lawmakers can change not only the landscape of Liberty State Park, but also the direction of children’s lives, given the hazards in the neighborhood.

“It’s a life or death choice for some of these kids,” said Cossolini, president of the Jersey City Police Officers Benevolent Association. “They have nothing to do in this neighborhood. They have nowhere to go. There is nothing there that they can be proud of.

Changes to the plan

The bill was amended by the Senate Environment Committee to say that profit-making facilities would not be required to be prosecuted by the Department of Environmental Protection, although it would not ban sites fee-paying sportsmen or do not take the Caven Point Wildlife Area out of bounds. development.

“We’ve addressed 90% of the concerns,” Smith said. “It’s not 100. But I think it gets us a lot closer to where we want to be.”

Amendments to the bill also require the task force to seek public input in at least three meetings, prevent construction of a casino in the park, and require any renewable energy development in the development, such as solar panels, be installed on rooftops, not by clearing land. trees for a solar farm.

Although the legislation would spend $250 million in public funds, it has not made it to the Senate Appropriations Committee and is instead in position for a full Senate vote.

The accompanying bill in the Assembly is to be heard Wednesday before the Committee on State and Local Governments.

Michael Symons is the Statehouse Bureau Chief for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at [email protected]

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These are the best hiking spots in New Jersey

A trip to New Jersey doesn’t have to be just the beach. Our state has incredible trails, waterfalls and lakes to enjoy.

From the Pine Barrens to the Appalachian Trail to New Jersey’s hidden gems, you have plenty of options for a great hike. Hiking is a great way to spend time outdoors and enjoy nature, plus it’s a great workout.

Before you hit the trails and explore some of our listeners’ suggestions, I have some tips on hiking etiquette from the American Hiking Society.

If you descend and encounter an uphill hiker, pull to the side and give the uphill hiker some space. An uphill hiker has the right of way unless they stop to catch their breath.

Always stay on the trail, you may see side paths, unless marked as an official trail, avoid them. Going off the trail, you risk damaging the ecosystems around the trail, the plants and wildlife that live there.

You also don’t want to disturb any wildlife you encounter, just keep your distance from the wildlife and continue hiking.

Cyclists must yield to hikers and horses. Hikers should also give in to horses, but I’m not sure how many horses you’ll encounter on New Jersey trails.

If you plan to take your dog on your hike, they must be on a leash and be sure to clean up all pet waste.

Finally, pay attention to the weather, if the trail is too muddy, it’s probably best to save your hike for another day.

I asked our listeners for their suggestions on the best hiking spots in New Jersey, check out their suggestions:

15 Sensational Places to Visit in Seaside Heights and Seaside Park

From the rides to all the boardwalk food to the many water fun, Seaside Heights and nearby Seaside Park has remained a family friendly place for all ages.

Along the way, the Seaside Heights boardwalk and Casino Pier were hit by tragic disasters, such as a fire, Super Hurricane Sandy, and another fire. Both have proven their resilience through reconstruction and expansion.