A â€œPets for The Parkâ€ march in Liberty State Park was essentially a victory parade yesterday after Gov. Chris Christie (R) and Department of Environmental of Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bob Martin abandoned commercialization and privatization plans.
â€œThis is a good day to celebrate peopleâ€™s victory for a peopleâ€™s park,â€ Sam Pesin, the president of the Friends of Liberty State Park, told Hudson County View.
â€œThese destructive plans should never have been put in the table but finally the governor realized that there was strong opposition and the opposition was going to get even stronger.”
Pesin also pointed out the great combination of â€œgrassroots power and very caring elected officials,” including Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop, the Jersey City Council, state Senator Sandra Cunningham (D-31), Assemblyman Raj Mukherji (D-33) and Assemblywoman Angela McKnight (D-31) for their hard work in protecting the park.
In January, Fulop found an unlikely ally in state Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3), who he’s expected to face off in the Democratic primary for governor next year, as they led a coalition that included other elected officials and advocacy groups alike to oppose Christie in the privatization plan.
Caitlin Malma, a Jersey City eighth grade student hosted a Pet Parade at Liberty State Park, which was initially intended to be a protest against commercialization until the state announced they were forgoing their commercialization plans on Thursday (h/t Politico NJ).
â€œLiberty State Park is a free urban open green oasis: in Jersey City, and other urban areas we donâ€™t have to many like it. Thatâ€™s the way itâ€™s been, thatâ€™s as the vision of parks founders and thatâ€™s the way we intend to keep it,” Mukherji said.
â€œThis is a great milestone and we can now enjoy the park and know that it is safe, at least for a while,â€ added Pesin.