By Heather Gibbons | FBW | December 10, 2017
The Friends of Liberty State Park are asking anyone interested in helping to stop the marina plans to email NJDEP Commissioner Bob Martin at email@example.com. For more information, as well as a phone number and mailing address for Commissioner Martin.
It’s back to the ramparts for the Friends of Liberty State Park. The ever-vigilant defenders of the 1200-acre park in Jersey City facing the New York Harbor are confronting yet another battle, this time fighting plans for what they call a “millionaires’ marina” on the south end of the park. On Saturday, December 2, the Friends and approximately 250 people, including Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop and other elected officials, gathered to protest this most recent attempt to privatize the park behind the Statue of Liberty.
“This is the people’s side of the people’s park” insisted FOLSP President, Sam Pesin. “The South side of the park is where people come to fish and relax and enjoy the park.” The southern end of Liberty State Park includes a free parking lot, a playground, and a stretch of shoreline where you can find local residents fishing off the grassy jetties and enjoying the open space along the waterfront.
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection already leases the northern end of the park to Suntex Marinas, the company that owns the 520-slip marina, Liberty Landing. NJTV recently reported that Suntex has the right of first refusal should the agency choose to lease out another area in the park, and that the current proposal would require Liberty Landing to take over the maintenance of the current marina’s bulkhead from the State in exchange for granting the lease for the marina.
According Northjersey.com, the NJDEP has not confirmed any plans for a 2nd marina, and quoted the agency as “committed to transparency.” However no public hearings have been announced and Pesin believes that if history is any guide, the agency will make public hearings difficult to attend, scheduling them during the holidays and on weekdays while people are working.
During the rally on December 2nd, Greg Remaud, Deputy Director of The NY/NJ Baykeeper, criticized the state’s characterization of the deal as a savings for taxpayers. “They have been diverting maintenance funds away from this park for years” he said, adding that this is another attempt to make the park “pay for itself” via privatization. He reminded those gathered that the southern end of the park is the non-commercial part of Liberty State Park, where people have free, direct access to the water for fishing and other recreation.
Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop pledged to fight the marina plan, and expressed his gratitude to Sam Pesin – son of the “godfather” of the park, Morris Pesin – for his and the Friends’ long-time advocacy of the park many call “Jersey City’s backyard”.
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