Investment continues agency’s longstanding commitment to region’s quality of lifeNEW JERSEY
The Port Authority Board of Commissioners today approved a contribution of $1.3 million to Essex County for the development of the Riverbank Park Extension in Newark. The site includes more than 12 acres of public open space and waterfront access along the banks of the Passaic River. Today’s authorization completes the purchase of the waterfront land and boosts the agency’s total investment in the project to $9 million.
The Riverbank Park Extension includes a public greenway stretching eight city blocks, soccer and baseball fields, tennis and basketball courts, and two playground areas along with spectacular views of the Passaic River. Essex County is responsible for maintaining and operating Riverbank Park Extension.
The action by the Board continues an extensive Port Authority of New York and New Jersey initiative that preserves open space habitat and wetlands with public access on both sides of the Hudson River. The Port Authority’s $60 million Hudson-Raritan Estuary Resource Program has protected more than 390 acres for public uses over the past decade in New Jersey and New York, helping to ensure the region’s long-term quality of life and its vital business needs.
Since launching the Hudson-Raritan Estuary Resource Program in July 2001, Port Authority investments have protected eight properties in New York City and nine properties in New Jersey, much of it waterfront property. The investments have resulted in the creation of important public spaces, while also protecting critical wildlife habitat, including woodlands and wetlands for migratory birds and other wildlife.
“Through the $60 million Harbor-Raritan Estuary Resources Program, the Port Authority has delivered on its commitment to the environment by investing in communities throughout the region to create much needed public spaces while also protecting critical coastal habitat and wetlands for migratory birds and other wildlife,” said Port Authority Chairman David Samson. “Today’s investment provides the community of Newark with valuable recreation space and preserves an important wetland habitat along the Passaic River.”
“Waterfront parks are a great way to benefit the local community and the environment,” said Port Authority Executive Director Pat Foye. “Vital wetlands are protected from development and families and community members throughout Newark and Essex County get a wonderful place to relax, have a picnic and enjoy the outdoors. The Port Authority is happy to do our part to benefit the communities we serve.”
“The Port Authority serves an important role in the region by investing in transportation infrastructure and driving economic growth, but it has an equally important responsibility to work with the communities within the region to improve the environment,” said Executive Director Bill Baroni. “We take that responsibility seriously, and our investment in the City of Newark is just one example of the efforts we have undertaken to improve the quality of life throughout the region.”
Since its launch in 2001, the Hudson Raritan Estuary Resource Program has invested in the following projects in New York and New Jersey.
- Meadowlark/Murray Hill/Boulevard Tire: In 2006, the Port Authority provided $450,000 to help purchase 90.12 acres of waterfront property in Meadowlark, Bergen County, to provide the public with access to the waterfront and marshes open water and uplands.
In 2006, the Port Authority also provided $322,683 to purchase 10.56 acres of open space waterfront access areas in the Murray Hill section of East Rutherford to protect wetlands and maintain an important habitat for a variety of shorebirds.
In 2007, the Port Authority invested in the Meadowlands by contributing $650,000 to preserve 1.6 acres at Boulevard Tire in Secaucus. The land purchase provides public access and parkland along the Hackensack River.
- Barge Club/River Barge Park: In 2006, the Port Authority contributed $1.395 million to purchase the Barge Club, a 3.03-acre site along the Hackensack River in Carlstadt. In 2008, at the site of the original Barge Club, the Port Authority agreed to help create meaningful waterfront access by providing up to $5,047,000 for a fully accessible public waterfront, the River Barge Park.
The Park opened in fall 2011 to wide acclaim and includes a public boat ramp, promenade, fishing piers, salt marsh restoration, outdoor environmental classroom, paddle center, and winter boat storage building.
- Jersey City: In 2010, the Port Authority contributed $4 million to the total $12.5 million cost to acquire a 32.5-acre property along the Hackensack River in Jersey City. Marion Greenway aka Hackensack Riverfront Park will provide public access to the waterfront for underserved communities. Plans include a RiverWalk and pedestrian bridge.
- Adams Property: In 2009, the Port Authority invested $1 million to acquire 9.74 acres in South Plainfield, Middlesex County. The acquisition helped to secure significant habitat for wildlife including endangered species, protect the ecological integrity of the site, add public access to green space in the middle of densely populated Middlesex County, and provide flood protection for local residents.
- South Plainfield Holdings: In 2008, the Port Authority contributed $1.735 million for to purchase 69 acres in South Plainfield. The property holds 44 acres of high quality freshwater wetlands and wet forest habitat that have been designated as “Priority Wetlands” by the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the US Environmental Protection Agency. It also contains 25 acres of upland woodlands and scrub/shrub habitat that provide significant groundwater recharge and supports a great abundance of bird and wildlife species.
- Holmdel Township: In 2008, the Port Authority funded $1.38 million to acquire approximately 12.8 acres of woodlands and wetlands dubbed the “Lady Slipper” tract, located along Waackaack Creek in Holmdel Township, Monmouth County. This property provides public access to the community and protects a variety of wildlife species. It is a key parcel needed to complete a greenway that runs from Holmdel Township, through Hazlet to the Raritan Bay waterfront. It is also adjacent to and expands Allocco Municipal Park.
- North Shore Marina/Blissenbach: In 2003, the Port Authority provided just under $3 million to purchase 11 acres in the North Shore Marina. In 2010, Board approved additional $3.5 million for improvements to facilitate safe waterfront access and create an event lawn and parking area.
- Wiman Avenue: In 2004, the Port Authority provided $285,000 to the Trust for Public Land to acquire .3 acres of property on Wiman Avenue. The land is critical for a waterfront system of parkland and natural areas assembled by New York City Parks for the Crescent Beach section. It is open to the public for recreational purposes such as hiking and wildlife observation.
- Quintard Street: In 2006, the Port Authority contributed $176,610 to the Trust for Public Land to acquire 3.63 acres on the Quintard Street section of the South Beach Bluebelt. The purchase protects wet woods and marshes that are an important habitat for wildlife. Keeping the land undeveloped prevents flooding by storing rainwater and filtering runoff.
- Butler Manor: In 2006, the Port Authority contributed $2.1 million for the Trust for Public Land to acquire 18 acres in Butler Manor (balance of the $6.9 million purchase provided by Exxon Mobil and the federal government). The acquisition pro