Mayor Jimmy Davis announced that the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) has awarded the City of Bayonne a Garden State Preservation Trust matching grant of $1 million. The grant will help fund the construction of waterfront walkways and related improvements along Newark Bay near DiDomenico-16th Street Park and Ahern-Veterans’ Memorial Stadium. The state grant will be matched by dollars Bayonne has received from an Exxon environmental remediation fund. Mayor Davis said, “Bayonne is surrounded on water by three sides. This funding will help us to take greater advantage of our location on Newark Bay. I look forward to the improvements in recreation and enjoyment of our waterfront that will result from this grant.”
According to an announcement from the NJDEP, the grant will provide “enhanced access to Newark Bay in Bayonne through the creation of 1,200 feet of paths and development of a shade structure and seating areas, with the goal of providing kayak access, a boat ramp, benches, and signage about the harbor and its history.”
In a letter to Mayor Davis, NJDEP Commissioner Bob Martin said, “I congratulate you on your efforts to improve and expand the recreational opportunities in our state.” He added, “We look forward to working with the City of Bayonne toward the successful completion of this important project.”
The first walkway will extend southward along Newark Bay from Veterans’ Park behind the Sunset Trailer Park. The second walkway will extend southward along the bay from DiDomenico-16th Street Park down towards the Robbins Reef Yacht Club. Each walkways will be about one-quarter of a mile in length. They will provide access to the bay for Bayonne residents. Plans also call for a new boat ramp to be constructed at the southern end of DiDomenico-16th Street Park.
The Bayonne project is one of sixteen proposals around the state that won amounts of at least $1 million from the Garden State Preservation Trust, which is distributing $81 million in this current round of funding. The Garden State Preservation Trust is an independent authority that reviews state-funded open-space purchases. The funding comes from money approved by voters as well as from loan and interest repayments, interest earnings and previously approved projects that did not come to fruition. The State Administration recommended the projects for approval through the NJDEP’s Green Acres Program.
New Jersey has long been a leader in preserving open space. The Green Acres Program, the oldest of its kind in the nation, was created in 1961 as the result of an innovative bond referendum. The Green Acres Program has protected more than 690,000 of open space and provided hundreds of recreational facilities around the state.