Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop said that the latest Liberty State Park bill won’t lead to privatization, also noting that he is against the Liberty National golf course expansion and “massive stadiums” in an interview.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“Let me start by saying I am not advocate or supportive of expanding the golf course, massive stadiums in Liberty State Park, but what I’m trying to communicate to Sam Pesin and to the advocates of Liberty State Park: I’ve been on their side every step of the way – and I continue to be,” the mayor said after discussing the latest tax bill.
“Is that this bill doesn’t move privatization forward any more than what is there today and at the same time it doesn’t move us closer to protection, it keeps us status quo, but it puts in place a committee that allocates a lot of money to support the park.”
The New Jersey Assembly State and Local Government Committee unanimously approved (5-0) the Liberty State Park Conservation, Recreation, and Community Inclusion Act on Wednesday, as the Senate Environment and Energy Committee did last week.
The bill, sponsored by state Senators Brian Stack (D-33), Nick Sacco (D-32), and Sandra Cunningham (D-31), with the complementary bill sponsored by Assembly members Angela McKnight, Will Sampson (both D-31), and Annette Chaparro (D-33), would allocate $250 million to the park and a 17-member task force would decide how to spend it.
The fact that the legislation doesn’t specifically have language that would limit privatization/large-scale commercialization and/or protect Caven Point have led to many activists calling for amendments ahead of the vote by the full legislature.
Assemblyman Raj Mukherji (D-33) and Ward E Councilman James Solomon have also called for a bill that more closely resembles the Liberty State Park Protection Act, which Mukherji was a prime sponsor of and Solomon sponsored a council resolution to support it in 2020.
Fulop noted that the Friends of Liberty State Park, his office, and the county executive’s office would all be represented on the proposed task force, part of the reason he is urging people to read the bill in full.
“There’s a lot of good things in that bill, it’s not perfect, but it doesn’t move us closer to privatization: that’s just a misnomer and that’s not true,” he stated.
“So my hope is that people better engage on the actual legislation, continue to stay vigilant – you’ve gotta protect the park – and ultimately the dollars allocated and the committee is a good thing.”