Legislation designed to protect open parkland space from being developed passed a New Jersey Senate Committee earlier this week. The Liberty State Park Protection Act, which is co-sponsored by Hudson County Senators Brian Stack and Sandra Cunningham, Bergen County Senator Loretta Weinberg and Senator Teresa Ruiz from Essex County, unanimously passed out of the Senate’s Environment and Energy Committee.
Since opening in 1976, Liberty State Park in Jersey City has faced one developer proposal after another. Park founder Morris Pesin and his son Sam, the President of the Friends of Liberty State Park, who along with Audrey Zapp, have spent decades fending off various development plans which would have reduced the acreage of Hudson County’s largest open space and recreational venue.
Under the proposed legislation, any future development at the State Park, which overlooks Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty and lower Manhattan, would have to be small scale improvements which
benefit users of the park. It creates a Management Plan for the entire park which would be formulated through an open, non-political process and establishes a public, Advisory Committee. The committee would ensure transparency and review all leases on a recurring basis.
According to the NY/NJ Baykeeper, there is one entity, however, that has come out in opposition to the Liberty State Park Protection Act; Liberty National, one of the most exclusive and expensive golf clubs in the United States.
The legislation now heads to the New Jersey Assembly for further consideration, where it is co-sponsored by Hudson County legislators Nicholas Chiaravalloti, Angela McKnight and Raj Mukherji.