The Liberty State Park Protection Act, legislation sponsored by Hudson County Democrats seeking to make the space a protected historic site, cleared a state Assembly panel on Monday. By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“A rare open space jewel in a densely populated urban county and one of only two places in the world from which Ellis Island and Lady Liberty can be accessed, she enhances the quality of life of urban families and visitors from everywhere,” Assemblyman Raj Mukherji (D-33), one of the bills primary sponsors, said in a statement.
“Future generations deserve to enjoy Liberty State Park as open space.”
In carrying out its responsibilities, the committee would give consideration to the natural, historic, cultural, recreational, and scenic resources and the local, State, and national significance of Liberty State Park.
Liberty State Park is a beacon of hope that represents all that America has to offer,” added Assemblyman Nick Chiaravalloti (D-31).
“Tourists are drawn to the beautiful markers and rich history but for Jersey City residents it is a plot of much needed green space in the concrete landscape. This legislation will ensure that the park remains a recreational area free for everyone to enjoy.”
In addition, the legislation would prohibit the DEP from considering any proposal to commercialize, develop, or privatize Liberty State Park, except as provided in the bill.
Under the bill’s provisions, the DEP would be allowed to the approve a concession, conveyance, lease, or other agreement with a private entity to provide small-scale commercial activities that directly enhance a visitor’s experience to Liberty State Park.
Some examples would be a bicycle or kayak rental concession, food concession, temporary winter skating rink, commercial boat tour operating from an existing boat slip, and use of the Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal (“CRRNJ Terminal”), and other uses identified in a management plan.
The bill also requires the DEP, whenever it proposes to enter into a concession, lease, or other agreement for a duration of one year or longer, to provide a full public process with public hearings and a public comment period.
“This measure would protect Liberty State Park from any future proposals to commercialize or privatize the state and national treasure,” said Assemblywoman Angela McKnight (D-31).
The legislation cleared the Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee Monday on Monday and state Senator Sandra Cunningham (D-31) has introduced the bill in the upper house.
Last month, the Jersey City Council approved a measure urging Trenton lawmakers to pass the Liberty State Park Protection Act.