DEP Hosts Inaugural Meeting of Liberty State Park Design Working Group (21 / P030)
(21 / P030) TRENTON – The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection this week convened the first meeting of a Liberty State Park Design Working Group tasked by Commissioner Shawn M. LaTourette to consider comments from the public when working with DEP to develop conceptual and detailed design plans for Jersey City Park. . The working group, established by administrative order, will help ensure that the design results meet the needs of the park host community, its stakeholders and the general public.
“We have a unique opportunity to improve Liberty State Park for the benefit of all,” said Commissioner LaTourette. “We can only seize this opportunity through deep engagement with residents and stakeholders interested in the preservation, planning and improvement of the park. As the DEP continues the public engagement that we started last year, this working group will be tasked with advising my colleagues and I on the finer design details so that together we can make sure that DEP’s plans for the park will meet the diverse needs of our communities.
The working group is co-chaired by Olivia Glenn, DEP Deputy Commissioner for Environmental Justice and Equity, and John Cecil, DEP Director of Parks and Forests, and includes 15 non-voting advisory members. Working group meetings will focus on assisting the DEP in operationalizing the public comments received at design milestones. While the working group invitations will not be broadcast, the DEP will continue its process of public participation at Liberty State Park, both in person and online. As the DEP advances its design concepts with guidance from the working group, the agency will hold routine presentations on developing plans at key design stages to solicit further input from the working group. public.
DEP has pledged to develop a plan to remediate and restore 235 acres inside Liberty State Park, which has long been closed to the public due to environmental contamination dating back decades. Interior restoration is fully funded by DEP, using money from successful lawsuits conducted by DEP for damage to the state’s natural resources.
In fall 2020, DEP launched a public engagement process to seek input on the 30 percent concept plans for the interior restoration. As the DEP makes more detailed design plans, the agency will regularly engage the public and solicit their comments. During this time, the working group will review the finer design details and make recommendations to the Commissioner regarding natural resources and ecological features, passive and active recreational features, and ancillary and supporting features within and outside. exterior to interior, including areas that could promote improved intra-park circulation and park connectivity with surrounding communities and other public amenities. The task force is expected to present its recommendations to the Commissioner by June 30, 2022.
In order to ensure that the diversity of voices, experiences and points of view are taken into account, the DEP working group is composed of the following members in addition to the two co-chairs:
- The Mayor of Jersey City, ex officio or designate;
- The Director of Jersey City Recreation and Youth Development, ex officio, or designate;
- The Hudson County Commissioner for District 3, ex officio, or a designate;
- The Chief of the Hudson County Parks Division, ex officio, or a designate;
- The Superintendent of Jersey City Public Schools, ex officio, or designate;
- The president of the NAACP, the New Jersey State Conference, ex officio, or designate;
- The President of the NAACP, Jersey City Branch, ex officio or designate;
- The president of Friends of Liberty State Park, ex officio or designate;
- The president of Liberty State Park for All, ex officio or designate;
- The Superintendent of Liberty State Park, ex officio or designate;
- The head of office of the Natural Resources Restoration Office of DEP, ex officio, or a designated person;
- Up to four Jersey City residents selected by the working group co-chairs and approved by the DEP Commissioner.
Public input has been an important part of the process as the DEP moves towards the interior restoration project. A survey soliciting feedback on indoor dining active leisure ideas received more than 3,600 responses. Survey results, an explanation of the remediation process and other updates were shared at a June meeting. virtual public meeting.
The 1,200-acre Liberty State Park is located along the mouth of the Hudson River, where it joins New York’s Upper Bay, and is set against the backdrop of the Manhattan skyline, the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. It represents one of the last remaining contiguous open green spaces along the highly developed northern New Jersey / New York City waterfront. The park, in Hudson County, is also the only location in New Jersey with ferry service to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.
Among other amenities, the park is home to the historic Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal, the NJ Empty Sky 9/11 Memorial, a two-mile boardwalk, a nature center, picnic and play areas, the Liberty Landing Marina and restaurants.
For more information on Liberty State Park, visit www.njparksandforests.org/parks/libertystatepark.html
Follow the New Jersey State Park Service on Instagram @newjerseystateparks
Follow Commissioner LaTourette on Twitter and Instagram @shawnlatur and follow DEP on Twitter @NewJerseyDEP