State DEP Seeks Quotes for Liberty State Park and Greenway Master Plans

Plans to build numerous recreational facilities at Liberty State Park and turn an abandoned railroad into a 9-mile park took another small step forward on Tuesday.

The state’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced it was accepting quotes from companies to create the master plan and detailed design documents for the state’s most-visited waterfront park. Sea of ​​Jersey City and the recently acquired rail corridor that will be developed as Essex. -Hudson Greenway.

The quote request provides another glimpse into the future of Liberty State Park, which has been the victim of a political tussle over the past seven years.

Earlier this year, the state legislature formalized the state Department of Environmental Protection’s plan to remediate the interior of the long-contaminated 234-acre park and dedicate 61 acres to ball fields. , but did not specifically provide protections for the 21-acre ecologically sensitive Caven Point Peninsula.

The struggle between large-scale and small-scale commercialization of the park has been fought since the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority got a say in Liberty State Park under a 2015 law, though the DEP always have the last word.

While it was a question of how the park could be monetized, the latest skirmish concerns whether the park should remain a primarily passive setting or become a youth sports haven for use by athletes and teams. of the whole state.

As requested, the Crown requests bidders to provide:

  • “Planning and design of active and passive leisure facilities” to complement and be integrated with natural resource restoration and conservation activities;
  • An assessment of opportunities for short-term recreational development and natural resource conservation;
  • An assessment of needs, challenges, opportunities and further improvements to facilities, programs and amenities, transportation and mobility options to ensure equitable access, restoration and preservation of natural resources, and climate resilience.

The final element requires bidders to consider the diversity of LSP’s surrounding communities, the need for equitable recreational and cultural opportunities, and local participation and benefits.

Recently established groups like Liberty State Park for All and the People’s Park Foundation argued that for years the state ignored decades-old plans to create more recreation in the park and dragged its feet on the cleanup. of the interior of 235 acres of the park.

With last week’s $65 million purchase of the old rail line that runs through Jersey City, Secaucus, Kearny, Newark, Belleville, Bloomfield, Gen Ridge and Montclair, state officials are moving forward with the creation of the Essex-Hudson Greenway, approximately 9 mile linear park.

Bidders are encouraged to assess and develop “design needs, challenges, opportunities and alternatives relating to, but not limited to, safety and security, remediation activities, ecological and habitat restoration”. , stormwater management, equitable public access, recreational facilities, pedestrian and bike path and interpretive facilities.

The DEP stated that firms or individuals submitting quotes must have demonstrated experience in public space and/or public life analyses, urban planning, park design and layout, engineering, landscaping or other related fields. Submissions must reach the DEP by 2 p.m. on October 17.

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