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Policy Directive 2003-03 - Liberty State Park Development Corporation

This Directive outlines the Department of Environmental Protection's vision and priorities for Liberty State Park, as well as significant policy changes for the current structure of governance at the Park.


Background

From the time of its opening on June 14, 1976, Liberty State Park (the Park or LSP) has attracted sustained, significant public support from citizen groups interested in promoting and protecting New Jersey's first, and to date, only urban state park. The Park's 1,212 acres include magnificent views of New York Harbor, the Statue of Liberty, the historic Central New Jersey Rail Terminal, the Liberty Science Center and the Liberty Landing Marina. The Park also provides a historic gateway to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. The Park is also a popular urban open space that presents significant opportunities for additional recreational development and natural resource restoration. The Park serves nearly 4.5 million visitors annually, from neighbors in Jersey City, Hudson County to travelers from across the region and the Nation.

The Park is managed and protected by DEP's Division of Parks and Forestry, working closely with park constituencies ranging from Jersey City residents to local parks and environmental groups. Since 1986, the Liberty State Park Development Corporation (LSPDC), established by Governor Kean to promote public-private partnerships, also has had a significant role in park development. In recent years, numerous LSPDC proposals have generated significant controversy among citizens concerned about the park. With the recent completion of the General Management Plan, which determined the future of the remaining 251 acres of undeveloped space, there is little work remaining that falls under the LSPDC's original mandate. Accordingly, the McGreevey Administration has revisited the role of the LSPDC, in light of the vision for the future of Liberty State Park.

This Directive is intended to address those conflicts and to articulate specific LSP priorities for the coming decade.


Policy


In consultation with other agencies and interested constituencies, DEP shall implement the following changes to LSP governance.

  1. Termination of the LSPDC. DEP has negotiated a voluntary termination of the LSPDC, with provision that the functions and responsibilities of the LSPDC for the management of Liberty State Park shall be transferred to the DEP's Division of Parks and Forestry no later than June 30, 2003.

  2. Expanded Public Participation. The Director of Parks and Forestry shall establish an expanded public advisory committee, modeled on the interdisciplinary committee formed to review restoration of the Park interior. This advisory committee shall be constituted to ensure adequate representation by Jersey City residents as well as other constituencies.

In consultation with the public advisory committee established by this directive, DEP's Division of Natural and Historic Resources shall focus on the following priorities for Liberty State Park.

  1. Acceleration of the Interior Restoration. In coordination with the United States Army Corps of Engineers, DEP shall accelerate the restoration of the Park's natural and vegetated areas, including the 251 acres identified for restoration in the center of the Park.

  2. Active Recreation. Recognizing the needs of the surrounding Jersey City communities and the absence of significant facilities for active recreation, DEP shall expand and improve opportunities for active recreation at the Park to better serve Jersey City and other local residents.

  3. Entrance and Transportation Improvements. DEP shall work to improve the Park entrance and develop road and transit improvements to increase access and convenience, reduce impacts of parking and transit, and improve the appearance of the Park.

  4. Non-commercial entertainment. DEP shall develop a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra (NJSO) to explore the possible siting of a limited-seating venue for NJSO performances and similar cultural events at the Park. Any proposal shall be fully reviewed by the Park advisory committee and subject to notice and comment prior to any final decision.

Posting


This policy shall be posted at Liberty State Park and made available to the public on the DEP web site.


Date: April 24, 2003 _________________
  Bradley M. Campbell
Commissioner

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Copyright © State of New Jersey, 1996-2003
Department of Environmental Protection
P. O. Box 402
Trenton, NJ 08625-0402

Last Updated: October 29, 2003