The head of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection said today that he is no longer looking into ways to bring development to the park, adding that state officials never had concrete plans for the park privatization in the first place. … Martin’s comments come six months after the DEP released an 18-page report outlining potential development projects — which included a hotel, amusement park and amphitheater — to be built on 38 of Liberty State Park’s 1,200 acres. … His decision to walk away from potential development at the waterfront park comes on the heels of an aggressive and creative campaign by advocates and elected officials to put the kibosh on any potential plans for development. Those efforts included a “picnic protest” at the park last spring, as well as a photo from a February protest that Pesin’s group sent to Gov. Chris Christie. …
Opinion: New Jersey Future report shows DEP trying to sell LSP to highest bidder
Source: Jeff Tittel, Jersey Journal, December 6, 2015
On Friday night after the Thanksgiving holiday, the NJDEP sneaked out the anticipated report conducted by New Jersey Future to privatize Liberty State Park. The Christie Administration hired New Jersey Future to consult the report and the plan was deliberately kept secret up until a lawsuit forced DEP to release the documents. … This report shows the DEP is trying to sell Liberty State Park to the highest bidder. The report calls for developments within the park that would be broken down into zones. Near the terminal building it calls for an event and conference center, hotel, catering hall, and shopping center. … With this report, it is clear that the Christie Administration would rather limit the public access and turn it over to private vendors that will over charge the public rather than actually run the park like it should run for the people of New Jersey. Governor Christie is following in lock step their plan to privatize state parklands.
N.J. moving ahead with plans to create wetlands at Liberty State Park
Source: Scott Fallon, NorthJersey.com, October 23, 2015
Proposals for the project were due from contractors Friday to excavate contamination and eventually build an area capable of sustaining a freshwater ecosystem near Liberty Science Center in Jersey City. Although a Department of Environmental Protection spokesman was unable to estimate the project’s cost, a park advocate said it was roughly $6 million. … Park advocates said those moves signal that the administration wants to bring in large development to the park, which they oppose. What kind of development the state is considering remains a mystery: the DEP has refused to make its contractor’s report on Liberty State public and did not participate in a Senate hearing this week on the issue.
Seeking a greater public role in LSP’s future
Source: Edward Colimore, philly.com, August 5, 2015
Liberty State Park advocates have called on Gov. Christie and the commissioner of environmental protection to hold at least two hearings at the park on any proposed development there, instead of one, as required by legislation signed into law in July. … Gov. Christie signed legislation in July that provided new protections against development at Liberty State Park but did not meet the expectations of park advocates, who still say the site is “very vulnerable.” The law requires at least one hearing at the park for any proposed project there, and gives the DEP commissioner the right of final approval. An earlier version – which opponents feared would open the door to the park’s privatization and commercialization – was signed by the governor in February, then revised to offer protections to the site, a popular gateway to the Statue of Liberty.
Christie signs Liberty State Park bill; park enthusiasts, environmentalists concerned
Source: Dustin Racioppi and Scott Fallon, NorthJersey.com, July 6, 2015
Governor Christie signed into law Monday night a bill intended to quell concerns over the future of Liberty State Park – but his signature did anything but that. Instead, environmentalists and park enthusiasts say, the so-called cleanup bill would plot a course toward private development of the state’s most-visited park, despite its many changes the last several weeks. The sprawling park along the Hudson River has been eyed over four decades for private development but each proposal has been fended off by advocates. … The law would allow the NJ Sports & Exposition Authority to review and possibly finance private development at Liberty State Park — a goal of the Christie administration, which has long seen the park, its 5 million annual visitors and its spectacular views of Manhattan as an untapped revenue source. The bill would give the final decision to the Department of Environmental Protection commissioner, who oversees state parks. … The bill’s recent changes were a sharp departure from only a few months ago when Senate President Stephen Sweeney introduced a bill intended to keep the authority out of all park matters. But in late June, the Senate changed the bill again keeping the authority involved. … Sweeney’s reversal still angered advocates who fear the administration intends to bring in large private development to Liberty and have the sports authority issue bonds to support it. Last year the administration paid contractors $120,000 to produce a report on the park’s development possibilities, which it has refused to make public.